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Thoracic Surgery Residency Training Program

Teaching Hospitals


University of Colorado Hospital

Top medical professionals, superior medicine, and progressive change make the University of Colorado Hospital one of the leading hospitals in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report’s annual survey of "America’s Best Hospitals," the University of Colorado Hospital is internationally respected for its exceptional teams of medical specialists. In 2011, the hospital was ranked number one in quality and safety among academic medical centers in the country by the University HealthSystem Consortium.

In Aurora, Colorado the new Anschutz Medical Campus is home to the Anschutz Centers for Advanced Medicine and the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute. The Anschutz Centers for Advanced Medicine, including the Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion and the Anschutz Cancer Pavilion, focus on primary and specialized outpatient care, diagnostics and cancer treatment. The Anschutz Cancer Pavilion houses the clinical services of the University of Colorado Cancer Center; it is the only comprehensive cancer center in the entire Rocky Mountain region, designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the federal government’s primary agency for cancer research.

Our new hospital at the Anschutz Medical Campus, the Anschutz Inpatient Pavilion, is a family-focused hospital that offers patients the most advanced medical treatment and the finest amenities available. Opened in February 2004, the first phase of the hospital includes an intensive care unit, medical/surgical units, a clinical lab, pharmacy, private patient rooms and family sleeping areas. The remaining phases are to open within the decade. Primary care clinics are operated by the hospital in six convenient Denver metro locations.

The University of Colorado Hospital is the region’s leading specialty care and referral center. It is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Colorado, one of three campuses comprising the University of Colorado system.

Children’s Hospital Colorado

Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children’s Hospital Colorado

Approximately 70% of all pediatric cardiothoracic surgical procedures conducted by our surgeons are performed at Children’s Hospital Colorado. These procedures are performed with the assistance of a multi-disciplinary team. Preoperative case reviews and operative plans are formulated in concert with pediatric cardiology and pediatric anesthesiology colleagues. Cardiac catheterization and echocardiography is readily available. All clinical data is utilized to accurately evaluate congenital heart diseases and to assess operative risks. Preoperative patient and family education is provided by an experienced specialized nurse coordinator. All procedures are conducted in operating rooms specially designed for and dedicated to pediatric cardiothoracic surgery. A designated team of five pediatric anesthesiologists provide care for all patients undergoing operations for congenital heart disease. Transesophageal echocardiography is employed routinely and intraoperative support is provided by pediatric cardiologists specialized in the interpretation of echocardiography. Four operating room nurses, who have undergone specialized training, are dedicated to the Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgical Team. Three perfusionists, certified by the American Board of Perfusion and specializing in pediatric cardiopulmonary bypass, provide intraoperative perfusion services and ensure 24 hours per day, 365 days per year staffing for mechanical circulatory support including extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation when required. A specialized nurse liaison provides intraoperative updates to patient families and assists in coordinating postoperative care and family education. All children are cared for in a dedicated pediatric cardiac intensive care unit. The CICU is staffed by a specialized nursing team, and all nurses undergo specific training for this unit. The CICU physician staff consists of board certified pediatric cardiologists, pediatric cardiac surgeons and pediatric cardiology fellows. Following discharge from the CICU patients are transferred to an intermediate care unit. All intermediate care beds are monitored with pulse oxymetry and continuous electrocardiograms. Patients convalesce in this unit until discharge from the hospital. 

The section of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine offers comprehensive state of the art surgical care for patients with congenital diseases of the heart, lungs and all thoracic organs. No other physicians in the Rocky Mountain West Region provide specialty surgical care for children and adults with congenital heart disease. Our surgeons are arguably the leading pediatric heart transplant surgeons in the world today. This section also provides the region’s only source of surgical expertise for the growing population of adults with congenital heart disease. A full range of pediatric congenital cardiac surgical procedures are performed at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Hospital for Mothers and Children at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center. Patent ductus arteriosus ligation procedures in neonates are also performed at University of Colorado Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital. All pediatric heart transplant operations are performed at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Adult patients with congenital heart diseases requiring our surgeons’ expertise are cared for at University of Colorado Hospital, Children’s Hospital Colorado and at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center. Our surgeons are committed to making the University of Colorado Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program the finest of its type in the United States.

Three surgeons comprise our section of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery. Dr. James Jaggers assumed the Chief position in our section beginning in 2010. Drs. David N. Campbell and Max B. Mitchell specialize in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery and pediatric heart and lung transplantation. Each of these physicians has undergone complete specialty training in adult cardiothoracic surgery as well as formal fellowship training in the field of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at some of the premier training programs in the world. All four surgeons are highly respected and have earned national and international reputations in the field of congenital heart surgery.

The Veterans Administrative Medical Center

The Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center serves as the tertiary care center for veterans in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. All aspects of adult cardiac and thoracic disease entities are managed by the Denver VA for this veteran population. There are two half day clinics devoted to cardiac and thoracic surgery respectively. The thoracic resident rotating at the VA provides coverage at these clinics with our faculty. There are four operative days per week, with cardiac cases being conducted on three of these four days. One day per week is dedicated to thoracic surgery cases. The cardiac caseload is weighted towards coronary revascularization and acquired diseases of the aortic valve. However, all aspects of cardiovascular surgery are performed by the cardiothoracic service, including thoracic aortic aneurysm surgery and mitral valve surgery. The thoracic experience leans towards surgical management of lung and esophageal carcinomas, as well as surgical management of pleural infections. The VA experience is a unique and integral part of the University of Colorado , School of Medicine, Thoracic Residency.