FFF Fellowships 2022-23 announced

We are delighted to announce the successful recipients of the 2022-23 Francis Fontan Fund Fellowship programme.

A high number of exceptional applications were received this year, reinforcing the programme’s prestigious reputation amongst the cardiothoracic community. This year’s programme includes seven new fellowships, offering more opportunities for surgeons to expand their knowledge and gain invaluable experience working with leading surgeons in their fields.

Congratulations to the following members:











  • Ukrainian Support: Anton Pechenenko, Maksym Rzhanyi, Volodymyr Demianenko and Viktoriia Tymoshenko


  • VATS: To be confirmed



Commenting on this year’s applications, Professor Ruggero de Paulis, Chair of the Francis Fontan Fund, said: “We have received an unprecedented number of outstanding applications to the Francis Fontan Fund this year – an increase of 80% in applications received compared to 2021. With 14 Fellowship Programmes to choose from I am proud to Chair the prestigious Francis Fontan Fund. It presents unparalleled opportunities for young surgeons to advance their education and careers in cardiothoracic surgery, learning from experts in their fields in some of the best institutions worldwide.

“It is very encouraging to see so many young surgeons from across Europe and beyond recognise the benefits of taking part in the Fellowship programme and being part of our global cardiothoracic community.”

Viktoriia Tymoshenko, one of the recipients of the Ukrainian Support Fellowship, said: “Let me express my sincere gratitude for such a unique opportunity to be chosen for fellowship in University Hospital Clinic de Barcelona and to be a part of your professional community. It has special meaning for me now when my country is attacked every day with thousands of people wounded. As young Ukrainian surgeons, I want to thank you for your contribution to the development and support cardiac surgery in Ukraine. I see the fellowship as an unrivalled chance to sharpen my knowledge, upgrade my professional skill and gain valuable experience from the leading specialists of hospital.”

Application for the 2023-24 Francis Fontan Fellowship programme will open in Spring 2023. Click here for more information about the programme.

EACTS WiCTS Committee at The 36th EACTS Annual Meeting

The Women in Cardiothoracic Surgery committee held a stimulating workshop at the 36th EACTS Annual Meeting – Embodied Leadership: The Hidden Dimension. The session explored the various ways that practising personal power can help to achieve objectives. We’re overjoyed that the workshop received a high rating!  

Introduced by Secretary General Patrick Myers and diversity expert Mira Vasic, participants were able to take part in practical exercises to for building confidence and resilience. Together, we learnt about the most common, unwritten masculine and feminine rules in the game of power and leadership. It was an honour to see Yolonda Colson in attendance, the 103rd  President and first female President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. 

26% of delegates were female at this year’s Annual Meeting and the WiCTS workshop was a first-of-its-kind session attended by 75 men and women. Empowering women surgeons to take up senior positions has become an important priority for EACTS. This workshop, and the WiCTS webinar series, helps to give women the inspiration and confidence to take leadership roles. 

Looking back on the success of the session, Chair of the WiCTS committee, Jolanda Kluin, said: “It was a great opportunity and a pleasure to discuss this topic with male and female surgeons at the Annual Meeting in Milan. I believe that creating an inclusive workplace, a place where everyone feels a sense of belonging, is an important requirement for high quality care.” 

At the Annual Meeting, the EACTS TV channel lifted the lid on sessions, giving the audience a chance to stay on top of hot topics and hear from key opinion leaders in more detail. The second episode of The Big Debate dissected equality and diversity in cardiothoracic surgery with expert panellists: Jolanda Kluin, Franca Melfi, Alicja Zientara, Martin Grabenwöger and Nabil Hussein. The full episode is available to watch via the EACTS Media Library here. 

The WiCTS committee recently launched a thought-provoking webinar series – The changing face of leadership: moving from diversity to inclusion. The series blends theory with practical information from experts and an array of guest speakers, offering vital tools to maintain influence and leadership as a cardiothoracic surgeon in the current landscape.  

Directed by Jolanda Kluin and moderated by webinar coach Maleene de Ridder, the series will run until May 2023 and is free for EACTS members. Non-members can participate for a small fee.  

Learn more about upcoming sessions and register here. 

Thank you to our sponsors for their ongoing support: AtriCure, Edwards and Medtronic.

Access world-leading education wherever you are

We’re excited to be extending the reach of the EACTS Academy by offering a number of courses in a new, hybrid format allowing delegates to participate regardless of location or circumstance.

Register today for the first hybrid course of 2023

Sign-up today for the three-day ‘Fundamentals in Coronary Artery Disease’ course and join course director Aaron Ranasinghe for the first session of this innovative series, which will explore the clinical aspects of coronary artery disease through an array of interactive lectures and hands-on sessions.

The course will run from 31 January – 2 February 2023 in Windsor and online.

More information about the course, registration fees and application can be found here.

EACTS Statement: Radial artery versus saphenous vein versus right internal thoracic artery for coronary artery bypass grafting: EJCTS publishes results of independent review.

Matthias Siepe, Editor in Chief, said: 


Today, EJCTS has published the results of an independent review of the meta-analysis entitled, Radial artery versus saphenous vein versus right internal thoracic artery for coronary artery bypass grafting, that was originally published in EJCTS in June 2022. 


The original paper by Gaudino et al. was based on a meta-analysis of individual patient data comparing outcomes using different grafts for coronary artery bypass surgery.  


Following publication of the original paper by Gaudino et al, several concerns were raised with us, including the appropriateness of the methodology that was selected for the analysis. After careful consideration, we commissioned Professor Nick Freemantle’s Comprehensive Clinical Trials Unit at the Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology, University College London, to conduct a further review.  


Further analysis conducted by UCL showed that: 


  • The results were similar to those identified by Gaudino et al when using the same methodology, confirming that the data handling was numerically and statistically correct. 
  • Differences were noted between individual matched groups using propensity score matching across three groups. Supportive conventional analyses found was associated with better matching and didn’t find systematic difference on the outcome of mortality when comparing the different grafts used in CABG.  


This is an outstanding example of open science: editorials, letters to the editor and social media questioned a paper. The authors were open and shared their entire dataset and code, in compliance with the author guidelines, for independent re-analysis. These supporting analyses give a clearer picture of the robustness of the initial findings, and paint a clearer picture of how to interpret the results. 


We have published the additional analysis today in the interests of open science and to ensure as comprehensive a picture as possible is available publicly to help inform the best treatment options for patients. 


The original authors should be applauded for sharing their entire dataset and codes with us for re-analysis, and we will welcome further responses on this issue for publication in EJCTS.  


Read more here and here.

Register for the 6th EACTS MCS Summit

There is still time to register for the 6th EACTS Mechanical Circulatory Support Summit taking place in-person in Berlin, Germany from 17-19 November.

Join experts in the field for the three-day programme consisting of interactive lectures, live-in-a-box cases and keynote presentations on topics including preoperative optimisation and optimal treatment in advanced heart failure patients, telemedicine and new options for percutaneous LVAD use

The Summit Chairmen are Volkmar Falk (Berlin, Germany), Finn Gustafsson (Copenhagen, Denmark), Ivan Netuka (Prague, Czech Republic) and Jan Gummert (Bad Oeynhausen, Germany).

Volkmar Falk, said, “The field of MCS is rapidly evolving. Besides all aspects of VAD therapy, the 6th EACTS Mechanical Circulatory Support Summit will cover new concepts for short term assist in the treatment of cardiogenic shock, new devices and the latest developments for mechanical support in right heart failure. The use of organ perfusion systems, prolonged use of micropumps and state of the art in Xenotransplantation will be discussed in the context of VAD as bridge to transplantation. Inspiring lectures by the international leaders in the field and interesting live in box cases will ensure the leading role of the EACTS summit in the field of MCS.”

Last year’s Summit had over 200 attendees, with overwhelming positive feedback. Ninety-eight per cent of delegates who completed the evaluation agreed that the event had met their expectations and 100% would recommend to a colleague.

Find out more here.

Domenico Pagano

We are very sad to learn of the untimely death of Domenico Pagano. As Secretary General of EACTS from 2017 to 2020, Domenico set about modernising the Association and ensuring the surgical voice was heard loud and clear. At the very successful 33rd EACTS Annual Meeting in 2019, he attracted global experts to update delegates on the very latest clinical trial data. Domenico was not only a first class surgeon, he was also a passionate advocate for the fair representation of the merits of cardiothoracic surgery and recent joint statements and collaborations with other societies are a testament to his work. In 2020, Domenico was invited to give the prestigious Thomas B Ferguson Lecture at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons 56th Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The subject he chose was close to his heart: data, evidence and transparency. The title of his lecture, MEGA – Make Evidence Great Again, an indication of his sense of humour and political awareness. His passion for cardiothoracic surgery and dedication to ensuring the best outcomes for patients were evident in his surgical practice at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and from his speeches, and the work he led at EACTS. Many colleagues will remember his commitment to mentoring less experienced surgeons, helping them become great masters and leaders. His legacy lives on. 

Domenico will be hugely missed by everyone in the cardiothoracic surgical community. Our thoughts are with his partner and family, and his colleagues in Birmingham, Italy and around the world.  

May he rest in peace. 

EACTS General Assembly 2022

We are delighted to welcome new Officers and Councillors to the EACTS Council following yesterday’s EACTS General Assembly.

The following positions were announced 

Franca Melfi – Vice President

“For me it is a great honour to become Vice President of this society. EACTS was the first scientific society that I joined – back in 1998. I am looking forward to promoting EACTS membership, including to thoracic surgeons, to highlight the importance of supporting women and men into leadership roles, and making EACTS a home for technological advances and innovation.”

Filip Casselman – Acquired Cardiac Disease Domain Chair

“I am delighted to be leading the Acquired Cardiac Disease Domain and to have the privilege of working with a huge array of experts. It’s an enormous domain with multiple task forces all working to push the boundaries in our specialty as we strive to always improve outcomes for our patients.”

Rafa Sádaba – Education Chair

“Education is at the heart of our work and, as Chair of the Education Committee, I am focused on delivering meaningful learning opportunities for our members that enhance skills and expertise to improve clinical practice. EACTS offers our members the very latest science, hands on training and high quality learning from global experts.”

Nabil Hussein – Resident Chair

“It’s a great honour and privilege to be part of the Residents Committee. I never thought when I joined a few years ago that I would be in this position. The position comes with great responsibility, but I am blessed to be working with such a great team.

“We are driving towards increasing the exposure Residents get in EACTS – something that EACTS are supporting us with. Looking to the future, we will be supporting Residents from all over the world, including them in EACTS and demonstrating that we are there for them, we are there to support their training and are open to their ideas.”

After three successful years Rafa Sádaba stepped down as Secretary General and handed over to EACTS’ new Secretary General, Patrick Myers.  

In addition, at the Presidential Dinner on Friday evening, Friedhelm Beyersdorf passed on the Presidential chain to EACTS’ new President Patrick Perier. 

EACTS Council is the decision-making body of EACTS. The Council is responsible for ensuring EACTS complies with its governing document, relevant legislation and best practice guidelines. Members of the EACTS Council have an active role in providing strategic direction to EACTS and setting overall policy and targets. Councillors serve a set term (normally of up to three years). 

We would like to thank the following outgoing Officers and Councillors for their hard work and valued contribution to our organisation.  

  • Mark Hazekamp 
  • Alicja Zientara 


Remembering Hans G Borst

Hans Georg Borst, MD – A European Surgeon

Axel Haverich

Dr Hans Georg Borst died on 8 September 2022, aged 94.  As President of EACTS in 1995, he addressed the Annual Meeting in Paris on the topic: “A European surgeon´s odyssey” (1). This characterises both his academic life and his devotion to his mother continent. It also reflects Hans´ intense desire for international partnership, far beyond cardiothoracic surgery. Like Odysseus, he did not trust in travelling alone. To strengthen his new discipline, cardiothoracic surgery, he founded two scientific societies together with peers: the German DGTHG in 1971, and EACTS in 1986. To enhance scientific communication, both societies launched their own journal and Hans became the editor-in-chief for both.

Becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon

 Hans Borst was born on October 17 in 1927 as the son of Max Borst, late Professor of Pathology at Munich university. In early 1945, he was drafted into the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force and subsequently spent 6 months in a British POW-camp. Upon returning home, he continued his studies and graduated in 1947. As a requirement before starting medical training at Munich university, Hans Borst had to work for six months as a construction labourer. After completing his preclinical training, he was granted a stipend to study at Harvard Medical School in the US, where he graduated in 1953. Supported by Frank Gerbode, a pre-war assistant in his father´s institute in Munich, he became an intern in the Department of Surgery at the old Stanford Hospital in San Francisco, before completing a two-year fellowship at the Department of Physiology, Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

Returning to Germany in 1956, he moved to Rudolf Zenker’s clinic in Marburg  and was given responsibility for operating the heart-lung-machine, including the first time it was used successfully to close an atrial septal defect in Germany on 18th February 1958.

Borst and his juvenile Transplant team, 1986 from left: Axel Haverich, Thorsten Wahlers, Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Borst, Hans- Joachim Schaefers

Borst with his successor Axel Haverich, 1988

As the possibilities offered by heart surgery unfolded, Hans became convinced about the enormous potential of heart surgery for the treatment of conditions such as coronary artery disease and the management of heart attacks, which were the most common causes of death in western countries even at that time.

Borst (seated), visting Japanese Aortic Surgeons, 1994 (from left Okita, Kasuji, Ueda)

In 1968, he was appointed Professor of Surgery at the Hannover Medical School. This was the time when Christian Barnard hit the headlines internationally with the world’s first heart transplant operation. Borst visited the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town with a Munich delegation to familiarise himself with Barnard’s surgical procedures and treatment protocols. Not least because of this experience, Hans Borst saw a future surgical field in organ transplantation.    

Science based innovations

Borst was constantly devising techniques and important surgical innovations to improve patient outcomes.  Inspired at congresses, read in magazines or born out of his own creativity, Hans Borst always had the urge and courage to design and carry out better interventions.. For some procedures, the risk halved during his time as a surgeon, for others, such as bilateral lung transplantation, it fell to a fifth.

His spirit and innovative strength were transferred to his younger colleagues. He constantly encouraged dedicated assistants to examine this and test that, or to visit other centres.

Surgical teacher and mentor 

He entrusted inexperienced co-workers with graduated steps of the surgical procedure under his supervision and left the responsibility to younger ones if he left the operating table early. Whether through impatience or by design, that concept worked.

Loss of a leader

With the death of Hans Georg Borst, his students have lost a charismatic teacher and a role model whose uncompromising responsibility for the wellbeing of individual patients in clinics and research are written in letters of gold. His tireless commitment to the medical and academic advancement of his staff has given many the opportunity to adopt his high standards for their own surgical work.

With Hans Georg Borst we are all losing a leading figure in European surgery of the last century.

For the community of surgeons, even during his lifetime, he was a monument at a special time.

Hans, we will not forget you, we will keep the memory of you and your legacy with honour.