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Featured Profile and Interview With Tsuyoshi Kaneko, MD

Friday, January 4, 2019

Dr Tsuyoshi Kaneko is a cardiac surgeon and Assistant Professor of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Dr Kaneko received his MD from Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan, where he also trained in both general and cardiac surgery residencies. Following this, he moved to the USA to undertake general surgery residencies at the New York Medical College in New York City and the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Dr Kaneko then trained in cardiothoracic surgery and completed an interventional fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital before pursuing an aortic fellowship at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, USA. He has returned to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he is currently the Director of Aortic Surgery and the Director of Clinical Outcomes Research.

Dr Kaneko’s clinical interests include aortic surgery, minimally invasive aortic and mitral valve repairs, and endovascular approaches for valvular and aortic disease. His research is focused on valve disease and aortic disease, as well as database outcomes research. Dr Kaneko is a member of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the American College of Surgeons. He is a member of CTSNet and is the CTSNet Guest Editor for the upcoming Cardiac Surgery Essentials series.

Claire Vernon for CTSNet: What is the biggest challenge facing minimally invasive cardiac surgery right now?

Dr Tsuyoshi Kaneko: Contrary to other surgical specialties, the “traditional” minimally invasive cardiac surgery (hemisternotomy or minithoracotomy) is challenged by more minimally invasive “endovascular procedures.” The invasiveness between the two procedures is incomparable, so expectations are very high for “traditional” minimally invasive surgery to be able to compete with endovascular approaches.

CTSNet: How does the collaboration within the heart team and your interventional cardiology cross-training procedures influence you as a cardiac surgeon?

TK: Fortunately, we have a very collaborative heart team at my institution. The real byproduct of transcatheter aortic valve replacement was the concept of the heart team. The team will outperform its individual’s abilities if each of the team members is trying to achieve the same goal. We can certainly see this within our team. As a cardiac surgeon, having an interaction with the interventional cardiologist broadens your view and I feel like it makes you a better physician.

CTSNet: How important is the international exchange of ideas, information, and techniques in cardiothoracic surgery?

TK: In this age of digital networks, gone are the days when surgeons had to learn new information or a new technique with a “master surgeon” or at the surgical meetings. We have access to all the information while sitting in our offices, almost in real time. Email and social networks allow us to be directly connected with the “master surgeon” or any surgeon around the globe. New innovations oftentimes occur from connecting two unrelated ideas, rather than coming up with a brand-new idea. International exchange of ideas further facilitates this process, and I believe it will benefit all cardiac surgery patients.

CTSNet: If you had a magic wand to create the next innovation in cardiothoracic surgery, what would it be?

TK: An ascending aortic stent graft that would accommodate all coronary and valve anatomy. There are some prototypes, but most have a long list of exclusion criteria. We may be years away, but I believe this will be the next disruptive technology.

CTSNet: What is your favorite thing about CTSNet?

TK: CTSNet constantly provides content for all viewers, not just for the trainees but for faculty. It has video content in the cutting-edge procedures, but at the same time in basic procedures and techniques. It truly broadens a surgeon’s knowledge with its content. Not only that, it also provides contact information to all the members and allows an opportunity to communicate with all the cardiac surgeons in the world. It has become one of the most valuable tools for us cardiac surgeons. Please keep up the good work!

CTSNet: Thank you, Dr Kaneko!

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