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A Day in the Life of a Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Monday, March 4, 2024

Since its founding in 1882, the Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) hospital has provided and continues to provide outstanding services to the people of New South Wales, Australia and beyond. The frontline healthcare providers are constantly under immense pressure to ensure that all patients access prompt surgical care of the highest standard.

This video documents a day with Professor Tristan Yan, who is the head of the cardiothoracic surgery department at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia. Due to the pressure on their waiting list and the acuity status of their patients, he often needs to operate across two theaters to maximize their efficiency. 

Their day started at 8:00 am with a pneumonectomy in a seventy-eight-year-old patient who had mediastinal nodal disease and induction chemotherapy. The second case was an off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting (OPCAB) in a sixty-year-old with unstable angina. Then, Prof. Yan crossed over theaters to perform a thoracoscopic pleurodesis in a young patient with a malignant pleural effusion while the team prepared the fourth patient, a sixty-nine-year-old woman with peripheral vascular disease who needed OPCAB. The fifth case was another OPCAB procedure in a forty-nine-year-old man who had an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, and the sixth operation was a thoracoscopic right upper lobectomy for a case of early-stage lung cancer. 

As the major teaching hospital for the country's oldest medical school at the University of Sydney and home to hundreds of highly qualified medical specialists and researchers, RPA has a distinguished history of providing compassionate, complex, high-quality care and plays a central role in the health service system of both the district and the state of NSW in Australia.


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