Frozen elephant trunk does not increase incidence of paraplegia in patients with acute type A aortic dissection

Poon SS, Tian DH, Yan T, Harrington D, Nawaytou O, Kuduvalli M, Haverich A, Ehrlich M, Ma WG, Sun LZ, Estrera AL, Field M,

J. Thorac. Cardiovasc. Surg. 2020 04;159(4):1189-1196.e1

PMID: 31126657


OBJECTIVE: We seek to assess the safety of total arch replacement with frozen elephant trunk for acute type A aortic dissection in respect to the risks of operative mortality, stroke, and paraplegia using an international multicenter registry (ARCH).

METHODS: The ARCH Registry database from 37 participating centers was analyzed between 2000 and 2015. Patients who underwent emergency surgery for acute type A aortic dissection treated by total arch replacement with or without frozen elephant trunk were included. Operative mortality, permanent neurologic deficits, and spinal cord injury were primary end points. These end points were analyzed using univariate and hierarchical multivariate regression analyses, as well as conditional logistic regression analysis and post hoc propensity-score stratification.

RESULTS: A total of 11,928 patients were enrolled in the ARCH database, of which 6180 were managed with total arch replacement. A comprehensive analysis was performed for 978 patients who underwent total aortic arch replacement for acute type A aortic dissection with or without frozen elephant trunk placement. In propensity-score matching, there were no significant differences between total arch replacement and frozen elephant trunk in terms of permanent neurologic deficits (11.9% vs 10.1%, P = .59) and spinal cord injury (4.0% vs 6.3%, P = .52) For patients included in the post hoc propensity-score stratification, frozen elephant trunk was associated with a statistically significantly lower mortality risk (odds ratio, 0.47; P = .03).

CONCLUSIONS: The use of frozen elephant trunk for acute type A aortic dissection does not appear to increase the risk of paraplegia in appropriately selected patients at experienced centers. The exact risk factors for paraplegia remain to be determined.

Minimally Invasive Redo Aortic Valve Replacement: Results From a Multicentric Registry (SURD-IR)

Santarpino G, Berretta P, Kappert U, Teoh K, Mignosa C, Meuris B, Villa E, Albertini A, Carrel TP, Misfeld M, Martinelli G, Phan K, Miceli A, Folliguet T, Shrestha M, Solinas M, Andreas M, Savini C, Yan T, Fischlein T, Di Eusanio M

Ann. Thorac. Surg. 2020 Jan;

PMID: 31954690


BACKGROUND: Reoperation for aortic valve replacement can be challenging and is usually associated with an increased risk for complications and mortality. The study aim was to report the results of a multicenter cohort of patients who underwent minimally invasive reoperative aortic valve replacement with a sutureless or rapid-deployment prosthesis.

METHODS: From 2007 to 2018 data from 3651 patients were retrospectively collected from the Sutureless and Rapid-Deployment Aortic Valve Replacement International Registry. Of them, 63 patients who had previously undergone cardiac surgery represented the study population. In-hospital clinical and echocardiographic outcomes were recorded.

RESULTS: Mean age of the selected 63 patients was 75.3 ± 7.8 years and logistic EuroSCORE 10.1. Surgery was performed by ministernotomy in 43 patients (68.3%) and by anterior right thoracotomy in 20 (31.7%); 31 patients (49.2%) received the Perceval valve (Livanova PLC, London, UK) and 32 (50.8%) the Intuity valve (Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, CA). Mean cross-clamp time was 57.8 ± 23.2 minutes and cardiopulmonary bypass time 95.0 ± 34.3 minutes. Neither conversion to full sternotomy nor in-hospital deaths occurred. Postoperative events were ischemic cerebral events in 3 patients (4.8%), need for pacemaker implantation in 2 (3.6%), bleeding requiring reoperation in 5 (8.9%), and dialysis in 1 (1.6%). Median intensive care unit stay was 1 day, and median length of hospital stay was 10 days. On echocardiographic evaluation 1 patient showed a significant postoperative aortic regurgitation.

CONCLUSIONS: Minimally invasive reoperative aortic valve replacement with a sutureless or rapid-deployment prosthesis is a safe and feasible treatment strategy, resulting in fast recovery and improved postoperative outcome with no mortality and an acceptable complication rate.

Subclinical valve thrombosis in transcatheter aortic valve implantation: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Woldendorp K, Doyle MP, Black D, Ng M, Keech A, Grieve SM, Bannon PG

J. Thorac. Cardiovasc. Surg. 2020 Feb;

PMID: 32217021


BACKGROUND: Recent high-resolution computed tomography studies after transcatheter aortic valve insertion (TAVI) have reported a high prevalence of subclinical valve thrombosis (SCVT), potentially contributing to increased risk of late stroke. We aimed to investigate SCVT in patients after TAVI, with a focus on prevalence, predisposing factors, management, and potential sequelae.

METHODS: A comprehensive literature review of patients with SCVT after TAVI was carried out on all published studies in 3 major electronic databases from their inception until October 2019. Studies with sufficient data were included in a meta-analysis comparing the risk of stroke between patients with SCVT and those with normal valve function, as well as the protective effects of antiplatelet and anticoagulation on preventing SCVT.

RESULTS: From 3456 patients examined in a comprehensive review, 398 patients (11.5%) demonstrated evidence of SCVT during follow-up. Dual antiplatelet therapy was given in 45.5% of cases, single antiplatelet therapy in 19.8%, and oral anticoagulation in 28.5%. A meta-analysis demonstrated that rates of stroke were more than 3 times greater in patients with SCVT compared with those without (logistic odds, 1.10; 95% confidence interval, 0.63-1.57, P < .0001). Oral anticoagulation was superior to dual antiplatelet therapy or single antiplatelet therapy, preventing the formation of SCVT (logistic odds, -1.05, 95% confidence interval, -1.71 to -0.39, P < .0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Subclinical valve thrombosis is seen in 11.5% of patients after TAVI and is associated with increased risk of stroke. When oral anticoagulation is used postprocedurally, it is more effective than either dual or single-antiplatelet therapy in preventing subclinical valve thrombosis. These findings suggest that further studies are needed to define the optimal antithrombotic regimen to mitigate thrombotic and embolic sequelae after TAVI.

The utility of 3D-printed airway stents to improve treatment strategies for central airway obstructions

Xu J, Ong HX, Traini D, Byrom M, Williamson J, Young PM

Drug Dev Ind Pharm 2019 Jan;45(1):1-10

PMID: 30207189


Airway stents are commonly used in the management of patients suffering from central airway obstruction (CAO). CAO may occur directly from airway strictures, obstructing airway cancers, airway fistulas or tracheobronchomalacia, resulting from the weakening and dynamic collapse of the airway wall. Current airway stents are constructed from biocompatible medical-grade silicone or from a nickel-titanium (nitinol) alloy with fixed geometry. The stents are inserted via the mouth during a bronchoscopic procedure. Existing stents have many shortcomings including the development of obstructing granulation tissue in the weeks and months following placement, mucous build up within the stent, and cough. Furthermore, airway stents are expensive and, if improperly sized for a given airway, may be easily dislodged (stent migration). Currently, in Australia, it is estimated that approximately 12,000 patients will develop CAO annually, many of whom will require airway stenting intervention. Of all stenting procedures, the rate of failure is currently reported to be at 22%. With a growing incidence of lung cancer prevalence globally, the need for updating airway stent technology is now greater than ever and personalizing stents using 3D-printing technology may offer the best chance of addressing many of the current limitations in stent design. This review article will assess what represents the gold standard in stent manufacture with regards to treatment of tracheobronchial CAO, the challenges of current airway stents, and outlines the necessity and challenges of incorporating 3D-printing technology into personalizing airway stents today.

Cryobiopsy versus open lung biopsy in the diagnosis of interstitial lung disease (COLDICE): protocol of a multicentre study

Troy LK, Grainge C, Corte T, Williamson JP, Vallely MP, Cooper W, Mahar AM, Lai S, Mulyadi E, Torzillo PJ, Salamonsen M, Don G, Myers J, Raghu G, Lau EMT,

BMJ Open Respir Res 2019;6(1):e000443

PMID: 31321059


Introduction: Transbronchial lung cryobiopsy (TBLC) is a novel, minimally invasive technique for obtaining lung tissue for histopathological assessment in interstitial lung disease (ILD). Despite its increasing popularity, the diagnostic accuracy of TBLC is not yet known. The COLDICE Study (Cryobiopsy versus Open Lung biopsy in the Diagnosis of Interstitial lung disease allianCE) aims to evaluate the agreement between TBLC and surgical lung biopsy sampled concurrently from the same patients, for both histopathological and multidisciplinary discussion (MDD) diagnoses.

Methods and analysis: This comparative, multicentre, prospective trial is enrolling patients with ILD requiring surgical lung biopsy to aid with their diagnosis. Participants are consented for both video-assisted thoracoscopic surgical (VATS) biopsy and TBLC within the same anaesthetic episode. Specimens will be blindly assessed by three expert pathologists both individually and by consensus. Each tissue sample will then be considered in conjunction with clinical and radiological data, within a centralised MDD. Each patient will be presented twice in random order, once with TBLC data and once with VATS data. Meeting participants will be blinded to the method of tissue sampling. The accuracy of TBLC will be assessed by agreement with VATS at (1) histopathological analysis and (2) MDD diagnosis. Data will be collected on interobserver agreement between pathologists, interobserver agreement between MDD participants, and detailed clinical and procedural characteristics.

Ethics and dissemination: The study is being conducted in accordance with the International Conference on Harmonisation Guideline for Good Clinical Practice and Australian legislation for the ethical conduct of research.

Trial registration number: ACTRN12615000718549.

Diagnostic accuracy of transbronchial lung cryobiopsy for interstitial lung disease diagnosis (COLDICE): a prospective, comparative study

Troy LK, Grainge C, Corte TJ, Williamson JP, Vallely MP, Cooper WA, Mahar A, Myers JL, Lai S, Mulyadi E, Torzillo PJ, Phillips MJ, Jo HE, Webster SE, Lin QT, Rhodes JE, Salamonsen M, Wrobel JP, Harris B, Don G, Wu PJC, Ng BJ, Oldmeadow C, Raghu G, Lau EMT,

Lancet Respir Med 2020 Feb;8(2):171-181

PMID: 31578168


BACKGROUND: Transbronchial lung cryobiopsy (TBLC) is a novel technique for sampling lung tissue for interstitial lung disease diagnosis. The aim of this study was to establish the diagnostic accuracy of TBLC compared with surgical lung biopsy (SLB), in the context of increasing use of TBLC in clinical practice as a less invasive biopsy technique.

METHODS: COLDICE was a prospective, multicentre, diagnostic accuracy study investigating diagnostic agreement between TBLC and SLB, across nine Australian tertiary hospitals. Patients with interstitial lung disease aged between 18 and 80 years were eligible for inclusion if they required histopathological evaluation to aid diagnosis, after detailed baseline evaluation. After screening at a centralised multidisciplinary discussion (MDD), patients with interstitial lung disease referred for lung biopsy underwent sequential TBLC and SLB under one anaesthetic. Each tissue sample was assigned a number between 1 and 130, allocated in a computer-generated random sequence. Encoded biopsy samples were then analysed by masked pathologists. At subsequent MDD, de-identified cases were discussed twice with either TBLC or SLB along with clinical and radiological data, in random non-consecutive order. Co-primary endpoints were agreement of histopathological features in TBLC and SLB for patterns of definite or probable usual interstitial pneumonia, indeterminate for usual interstitial pneumonia, and alternative diagnosis; and for agreement of consensus clinical diagnosis using TBLC and SLB at MDD. Concordance and κ values were calculated for each primary endpoint. This study is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12615000718549.

FINDINGS: Between March 15, 2016, and April 15, 2019, we enrolled 65 patients (31 [48%] men, 34 [52%] women; mean age 66·1 years [SD 9·3]; forced vital capacity 83·7% [SD 14·2]; diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide 63·4% [SD 12·8]). TBLC (7·1 mm, SD 1·9) and SLB (46·5 mm, 14·9) samples were each taken from two separate ipsilateral lobes. Histopathological agreement between TBLC and SLB was 70·8% (weighted κ 0·70, 95% CI 0·55-0·86); diagnostic agreement at MDD was 76·9% (κ 0·62, 0·47-0·78). For TBLC with high or definite diagnostic confidence at MDD (39 [60%] of 65 cases), 37 (95%) were concordant with SLB diagnoses. In the 26 (40%) of 65 cases with low-confidence or unclassifiable TBLC diagnoses, SLB reclassified six (23%) to alternative high-confidence or definite MDD diagnoses. Mild-moderate airway bleeding occurred in 14 (22%) patients due to TBLC. The 90-day mortality was 2% (one of 65 patients), following acute exacerbation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

INTERPRETATION: High levels of agreement between TBLC and SLB for both histopathological interpretation and MDD diagnoses were shown. The TBLC MDD diagnoses made with high confidence were particularly reliable, showing excellent concordance with SLB MDD diagnoses. These data support the clinical utility of TBLC in interstitial lung disease diagnostic algorithms. Further studies investigating the safety profile of TBLC are needed.

FUNDING: University of Sydney, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Erbe Elektromedizin, Medtronic, Cook Medical, Rymed, Karl-Storz, Zeiss, and Olympus.

Outcomes of major complications after robotic anatomic pulmonary resection

Cao C, Louie BE, Melfi F, Veronesi G, Razzak R, Romano G, Novellis P, Ranganath NK, Park BJ

J. Thorac. Cardiovasc. Surg. 2019 Sep;

PMID: 31685275


BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of robust clinical data on major postoperative complications following robotic-assisted resection for primary lung cancer. This study assessed the incidence and outcomes of patients who experienced major complications after robotic anatomic pulmonary resection.

METHODS: This was a multicenter, retrospective review of patients who underwent robotic anatomic pulmonary resection between 2002 and 2018. Major complications were defined as grade III or higher complications according to the Clavien-Dindo classification. Statistical analysis was performed based on patient-, surgeon-, and treatment-related factors.

RESULTS: During the study period, 1264 patients underwent robotic anatomic pulmonary resections, and 64 major complications occurred in 54 patients (4.3%). Univariate analysis identified male sex, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, diffusion capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide, neoadjuvant therapy, and extent of resection as associated with increased likelihood of a major postoperative complication. Patient age, performance status, body mass index, reoperation status, and surgeon experience did not have a significant impact on major complications. Patients who experienced at least 1 major complication were at higher risk for an intensive care unit stay of >24 hours (17.0% vs 1.4%; P < .001) and prolonged hospitalization (8.5 days vs 4 days; P < .001). Patients who experienced a major postoperative complication had a 14.8% risk of postoperative death.

CONCLUSIONS: In this series, the major complication rate during the postoperative period was 4.3%. A number of identified patient- and treatment-related factors were associated with an increased risk of major complications. Major complications had a significant impact on mortality and duration of stay.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of stereotactic body radiation therapy for colorectal pulmonary metastases

Cao C, Wang D, Tian DH, Wilson-Smith A, Huang J, Rimner A

J Thorac Dis 2019 Dec;11(12):5187-5198

PMID: 32030236


Background: There is growing evidence to support the hypothesis that radical treatment of pulmonary oligometastatic disease with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) can improve oncological outcomes. However, some reports suggest colorectal cancer (CRC) pulmonary metastases are associated with radioresistance. The present systematic review aimed to assess the local control (LC), overall survival (OS), and progression-free survival (PFS) of patients with CRC pulmonary metastases treated by SBRT. Secondary outcomes included assessment of peri-procedural complications and identification of prognostic factors on LC.

Methods: Electronic databases were systematically searched from their dates of inception using predefined criteria. Summative statistical analysis was performed for patients with CRC pulmonary metastases, and comparative meta-analysis was performed for patients with CRC versus non-CRC pulmonary metastases.

Results: Using predefined criteria, 18 relevant studies were identified from the existing literature. LC for CRC pulmonary metastases treated by SBRT at 1-, 2-, and 3-year were estimated to be 81%, 66%, and 60%, respectively. OS and PFS at 3-year were 52% and 13%, respectively. Patients with CRC pulmonary metastases were associated with significantly lower LC compared to non-CRC pulmonary metastases [HR, 2.93; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.93-4.45; P<0.00001], but higher OS (HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.45-0.82; P=0.001). There were no reported periprocedural mortalities and low incidences of periprocedural morbidities.

Conclusions: These findings may have implications for patient and treatment selection, dose fractionation, and support the hypothesis that CRC pulmonary metastases may require higher biological effective doses while respecting normal tissue constraints when treated with SBRT.

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Ms. Jivani Murugan


Jivani is a Policy Officer employed at the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW. She is a Criminal Justice graduate from Macquarie University and is passionate about reducing health inequities for all communities. Jivani was born with a congenital heart condition and has had three open heart surgeries since her first at 10 days old. Her most recent, at age 23, introduced her to The Baird Institute and Professor Bannon.

Jivani campaigned for our 2021 Mid-year Appeal to fundraise and spread awareness of cardiothoracic surgery. She is an advocate for heart health and uses her position as a patient to raise awareness in the community and continues to showcase how surgery has saved her life. Jivani has enrolled in a Master of Public Health at Macquarie University commencing in 2023.

Mr. Ross Saunders

Ross is a business leader based in Sydney and originating from the United Kingdom. He currently runs the Australia & New Zealand operation for a global manufacturer with specialisation in business transformation, governance & compliance, program management, and strategic planning.

With particular interest in organisational transformation, Ross has led business and digital transformation programs across several global and national organisations including RS Group plc, Wesfarmers Industrial & Safety and Essentra plc.

Notably, Ross is also a post-operative recipient of valve-sparing aortic root replacement surgery, provided by Prof. Bannon and his team at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney.

Associate Professor Christopher Cao

BSc (Med), MBBS (1st Hon), PhD, FRACS

Associate Professor Christopher Cao is a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord Hospital, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Macquarie University Hospital, and Sydney Adventist Hospital.

Christopher graduated with First Class Honours from the University of New South Wales and scored 99/99 in both steps of the United States Medical Licensing Exam. This was followed by a pre-internship at Yale University, USA. After his cardiothoracic surgical training with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Sydney, his specialist Fellowship training was completed at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, USA, the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center. He was then invited to be a Faculty Member in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at New York University Medical Center, where he gained additional experience in minimally invasive cardiac surgery as well as heart and lung transplantation.

Associate Professor Cao has authored or co-authored more than 100 articles in high-impact international scientific journals and textbooks. His PhD with Sydney University was focused on the surgical management of pleural and lung cancers. He is the first author in one of the largest international registries on robotic surgery to date. His clinical interests include minimally invasive and robotic thoracic and cardiac surgery.

Dr Sean Lal

BMedSci(Hons), MBBS(Hons), MPhil(Med), PhD(Med), FRACP

Dr Sean Lal is an Academic in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney and a Consultant Cardiologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, sub-specialising in heart failure and cardiac MRI. He is also the Chair of the Heart Failure Council for the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Sean completed his undergraduate degree in Medical Science with first class honours at the University of Sydney, receiving full academic scholarship. He pursued his graduate Medical Degree (MBBS) and a Master of Medicine by research (MPhil) at the University of Sydney, where he was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship, the Medical Foundation Scholarship and the University of Sydney Bercovici Medal. As a medical doctor, Sean completed all of his general and specialty clinical training at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. During his cardiology training, he was awarded a National Churchill Fellowship to study mechanisms of cardiac regeneration at Harvard Medical School.

Sean has a clinical and research interest in heart failure. For his PhD in this field, he was awarded a combined National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and National Heart Foundation (NHF) Scholarship, as well as the NHMRC and Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) scholarship for research excellence.

He was also awarded a Commonwealth Endeavour Postgraduate Fellowship to Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he undertook proof of concept studies demonstrating the intrinsic regenerative capacity of the human heart following myocardial infarction; whilst also gaining clinical experience in acute heart failure management in the cardiac ICU at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Sean is the Director of the Sydney Heart Bank at the University of Sydney, which is one of the largest biorepositories of cryopreserved human heart tissue in the world. He is the Head of the Cardiac Research Laboratory in the School of Medical Sciences at the Charles Perkins Centre, which focuses on basic science and translational research into human heart failure.

Dr Brian Plunkett

This content is currently being updated.

Dr Benjamin Robinson

Mr Benjamin Robinson is an adult cardiothoracic surgeon with a long association with The Baird Institute. Whilst a medical student, he completed honours research with the Baird on outcomes in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer, under the supervision of Professor Brian McCaughan. He was awarded a Baird Institute Fellowship for this work. He subsequently trained in cardiothoracic surgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and was the inaugural Baird Institute – Stanford University exchange scholar. Mr Robinson later completed a cardiac surgery clinical fellowship at Bart’s Heart Centre in London. He then worked as a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at St. James’s Hospital in Dublin, before returning to Sydney to take up appointments at Royal Prince Alfred, Concord Repatriation General and Strathfield Private Hospitals.

Mr Robinson has experience in the spectrum of adult cardiac surgery, including coronary, valvular and aortic disease, as well as in general thoracic surgery. He has specific clinical interest in minimal access aortic valve surgery, arterial coronary grafting and aortic surgery. He has completed postgraduate study at Cambridge University and has academic interests in surgical outcomes research and epidemiology.

Professor Tristan Yan

Dr Tristan Yan is the Head of Department of Thoracic Surgery at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Professor Yan graduated from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) with Bachelor of Science (Medicine), Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. He also completed three postgraduate higher degrees, Master of Surgery (USyd), Doctor of Medicine (UNSW) and Doctor of Philosophy (UNSW). He was trained at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and then obtained Cardiothoracic Surgery Fellowship from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Following advanced specialty fellowships in the United States, England, Scotland and Germany, he specializes in minimally invasive cardiovascular surgery, and minimally invasive thoracic surgery.

Professor Tristan Yan is dedicated to surgical innovations. He applies the latest pioneering techniques to minimize surgical trauma and access sites and thus achieves a more rapid and comfortable recovery for his patients. He first completed his general surgical fellowship with Paul Sugarbaker in the United States, one of the most prominent surgeons in the world. He was then closely trained by the pioneer of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery, Mr. William Walker, in Edinburgh, where he mastered the technical expertise of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) to perform complex lung resections, such as lobectomy and segmentectomy.

Associate Professor Chris Cao

After completing his medical degree at the University of New South Wales with First Class Honours, Christopher attended his pre-internship at Yale University, USA. He scored 99/99 for his United States Medical Licensing Exam, and completed his Cardiothoracic surgical training in Sydney. Concurrently, Christopher completed his PhD degree with Sydney University, focusing on the surgical management of lung and pleural diseases.

After completing his surgical training with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Christopher was invited to a Fellowship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York City, one of the largest cancer centres in the world. This was followed by a Fellowship in New York University, where he was asked to join the Faculty in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. His fellowship was focused on robotic and minimally invasive thoracic surgery, treating lung cancers, mediastinal tumours, mesothelioma, and other lung-related diseases. During his 18-month Fellowship at MSKCC and NYU, Christopher was fortunate to work with some of the leading international surgeons, gaining invaluable clinical and academic experience.

With over 100 publications in international peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, A/Prof Cao has a keen interest in thoracic surgery, particularly the treatment of lung cancers through minimally invasive surgery. He has made more than 50 presentations in international meetings as a Faculty Member in Paris, New York, Edinburgh, Taipei, Sydney, and Guangzhou. Christopher has personally supervised students and residents from Sydney University, University of New South Wales, Cornell University and New York University.

He is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery, and works as a Consultant Surgeon at Lifehouse, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord Hospital, Sydney Adventist Hospital, and Macquarie University Hospital.

Dr Mike Byrom

Dr Michael Byrom is a modern, innovative cardiothoracic surgeon with training and experience in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Particular areas of expertise include:

  • Truly minimally-invasive surgery to the aortic valve that avoids complete division of the breast bone (hemi-sternotomy, right anterior mini-thoracotomy); allowing faster recovery and return to normal activities
  • Mitral valve repair with excellent repair rates and outcomes – resulting from diverse training in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom
  • Avoidance of the need for anticoagulation through valve selection, valve repair, and surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation
  • Minimally-invasive lung resection, avoiding a large thoracotomy wound and enabling faster recovery and return to normal activities with reduced pain and discomfort
  • Sternal and rib titanium plate fixation of chronic non-united fractures
  • Performing these procedures while minimising risk of complications, allowing Dr Byrom to achieve world-class results for his patients

Dr Matthew Bayfield

Dr Matthew Bayfield is an extremely experienced cardiothoracic surgeon with a broad range of skills and special interests within his field. He has performed more than 6000 heart and lung procedures. Dr Bayfield has hospital appointments at Strathfield Private Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Concord Hospital. His surgical interests include:

  • Coronary artery surgery: Dr Bayfield is one of Australia’s busiest coronary surgeons; with particular focus on minimal access incisions, and use of in-situ bilateral internal mammary artery grafts for enhanced longevity of the benefit of coronary revascularization.
  • Aortic root and arch surgery: Dr Bayfield has been performing aortic root and arch surgery since 1995, when he completed a Cardiovascular Fellowship at the University of Virginia in the USA. His focus is on o minimal access incisions, short cardiopulmonary bypass times, and for arch surgery antegrade cerebral perfusion with cerebral oxygen saturation monitoring.
  • Surgery for emphysema / CAL: Dr Bayfield was trained in open lung reduction surgery whilst doing a fellowship at the University of Virginia in 1995. Since that time he has developed thoracoscopic techniques for the procedure, and since 2003 been an implanter of endobronchial valves as a minimally invasive alternative to surgery. With over 100 endobronchial valve case experience, and long term follow-up of these patients, he is one of Australia’s most experienced endobronchial valve proceduralist.
  • Correction of pectus defects: Dr Bayfield has a special interest in correction of both pectus and carinatum defects, with techniques including implantation of Nuss bar under video-assisted control, and open radical sternochondroplasty.Lung cancer surgery: Dr Bayfield has been in surgical partnershio with Professor Brian McCaughan since 1996, and was trained by him as a registrar. Prof McCaughan is Australia’s most experienced and prolific lung cancer surgeon, has published widely on many aspects of its treatment, and has been awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to health in respect to his work on malignant mesothelioma.
  • Pacemaker and defibrillator implantation: Dr Bayfield was trained in device implantation as a young surgeon in the 1980’s and has developed skills to ensure that a device can be safely and reliably implanted even in the most difficult case with minimal risk. He was trained in cardiac resynchronzation therapy techniques at the introduction of that technology. He has regular pacemaker and defibrillator implantation lists at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Strathfield Private Hospital, and Concord Hospital.
  • Surgical treatment for ischaemic cardiomyopathy: Dr Bayfield trained in heart and lung transplantation whilst at the University of Virginia. With this skill base he has been able to develop a multi-faceted approach to treat patients whose hearts have been damaged by coronary artery disease (heart attack). These therapies include coronary artery bypass, mitral valve repair, and implantation of CRT defibrillators.

Professor Paul Bannon

Professor Paul Bannon is an adult cardiothoracic surgeon of international standing with clinical appointments at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord and Strathfield Private Hospital. At Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Professor Bannon is the Head of Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Co-Chair of the Institute for Academic Surgery, Director of the Robotic Training Institute and the current President of the Medical Officers Association. At the University of Sydney, he holds the inaugural Professorial Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Bosch Chair of Surgery. He is also the current Head of the Discipline of Surgery for the Sydney Medical School and the Academic Director of the newly opened Translational Research Facility or Hybrid Theatre at the Charles Perkins Centre. He is the Chair of The Baird Institute for Applied Heart and Lung Surgical Research. Professionally he is the Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) and in that role serves on the steering Committee for the ANZSCTS National Cardiac Surgical Database, the National TAVI Accreditation Committee and is the Cardiac Surgical Chair of the Medical Benefits Schedule review program. For the Ministry of Health NSW he has been in the role of Co-Chair of the Cardiac Devices Committee for the Agency of Clinical Innovation.

Professor Bannon graduated from the University of Sydney in 1987, completed a PhD from the same institution in 1998 and was awarded a FRACS (CTh) in 1998. He has a particular passion for translational research in the areas of congenital aortic and mitral valve disease, biomaterials and biocompatibility, limitation of blood product usage in cardiac surgery, the inflammatory response to bypass and the development of academic surgical careers. He has authored or co-authored more than 120 scientific papers, published in peer-reviewed journals. He is co-editor-in-chief of the Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery, a Medline listed multimedia journal of cardiothoracic surgery. Professor Bannon has a reputation as the ‘surgeons surgeon’ and has particular expertise in surgery of the aortic root and arch, high-risk re-do surgery, total-arterial coronary artery bypass grafting and surgery for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Professor Richmond W. Jeremy


Professor Richmond Jeremy’s medical and cardiology training were at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

His clinical research career includes a PhD on coronary physiology and a post doctoral research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore before returning to the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

University of Sydney responsibilities have included service as Associate Dean Sydney, Medical School, Head of Central Clinical School and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Campus Infrastructure and Services.

Professional responsibilities have included service as Editor-in-Chief of Heart Lung and Circulation, membership of Boards on National Heart Foundation (NSW), Royal Australasian College of Physicians (Adult Medicine Division) and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Mr. Shaun Clyne

MA LLM (Syd)

Shaun is a corporate lawyer based in Sydney. He is the Australian Head of the Mergers & Acquisitions practice. He regularly advises on a wide range of corporate and securities law issues for public listed companies including takeovers, schemes of arrangement and capital raisings. He advises on Australian Stock Exchange compliance matters and regularly acts for both bidders and targets in connection with takeover bids and schemes of arrangement (hostile and friendly) for ASX-listed companies.

A leading practitioner in equity capital markets, Shaun has also advised numerous companies on their initial public offerings and capital raisings (rights issues, AREO’s, placements, employee share and options plans).

Shaun has presented at a variety of seminars and conferences and published several papers in his areas of specialisation.

His areas of expertise are mergers and acquisitions, corporate advisory and capital markets.

Ms. Joanne Wade


Joanne Wade has been a plaintiff lawyer since her admission to the Supreme Court of NSW in 1996 and has worked in asbestos litigation for well over 18 years. Joanne is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law and prides herself on her communication with her clients and, on many occasions, her clients’ families. She understands the importance and need to handle all her cases with the utmost diligence and compassion. Joanne has acted for hundreds of people suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and asbestos related pleural disease. Her clients are everyday people who have worked hard all their lives and deserve justice. Joanne acted for Steven Dunning in his claim against BHP Billiton Limited in the Dust Diseases Tribunal of NSW (Dunning vBHP Billiton Limited [2014] NSWDDT 3). Mr Dunning suffered from malignant pleural mesothelioma and in a landmark decision; the court awarded Mr Dunning the highest amount for damages for pain and suffering in NSW. Joanne went on to represent Mr Dunning in the Appeal before the NSW Court ofAppeal where BHP’s appeal was unanimously dismissed (BHPBilliton Limited v Dunning [2015] NSWCA 55). Joanne has also successfully acted for the late Bevan McGrath in his claim against Allianz Australia Insurance Limited, for his condition of asbestos related pleural disease and ensured that case was resolved on a provisional damages basis. Mr McGrath went on to develop mesothelioma, one of only a small number of cases where he then brought a second claim for further damages because his first claim was resolved on a provisional basis. Joanne successfully acted for Mr McGrath in both his claims and the late Mr McGrath successfully received further damages in a judgment by the court (McGrath v Allianz AustraliaInsurance Limited [2011] NSWDDT). The judgement was upheld on appeal (Allianz Australia Insurance Limited v McGrath [2011]NSWCA 153).

“It is with great privilege to work with people suffering from asbestos illnesses, and the greatest satisfaction formed is securing a result for those people to help ease their suffering, and to know their families will be looked after.”Joanne takes great pride in the work Slater and Gordon have undertaken in representing victims of asbestos disease, unions and asbestos support groups, including the work of Ken Fowlie in 2004 who acted for the ACTU and asbestos support groups in negotiations with James Hardie to secure an agreement which will ensure current and future victims of asbestos –related diseases would be fully compensated for years to come.Joanne is a passionate advocate and one thing that separatesJoanne from other lawyers is perspective, with her own father being exposed to asbestos working at Cockatoo IslandDockyard, she is in the unique position of seeing it from both angles.“My clients are generally people who have worked hard all their lives, and are lovely people who deserve justice. I am glad to fight for that justice and to make a difference to their lives.”


  • Asbestos Claims
  • Dust Disease Board Appeals
  • Dust Diseases Claims
  • Compensation Claims

Career History

  • Slater and Gordon since 2008 (practice group leader)
  • 2000-2007 Watkins Tapsell (partner)
  • 1996-2000 Watkins Tapsell (lawyer)
  • 1992-1995 NSW Crown Solicitors Office (paralegal clerk)

Professor Clifford F. Hughes


Professor Cliff Hughes is President of the International Society for Quality in Health Care. Until March 2015 he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Clinical Excellence Commission, a statutory health corporation established in 2004 to build capacity and design programs to promote and support improvement in quality and safety for health services across NSW. He has been chairman or member of numerous Australian state and federal committees associated with quality, safety and research in clinical practice for health care services. He has held various positions in the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, including Senior Examiner in Cardiothoracic Surgery and member of the College Council. In November 2015 the College bestowed upon him the highest award given to a Fellow in his lifetime, the Sir Hugh Devine Medal. He has received awards for his national and international work including an Alumni Award from the University of NSW. He has led five medical teams to China and has performed cardiac surgery in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh. In 1998, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of his contributions and “service to cardiac surgery, international relationships and the community”. In June 2014, the University of NSW conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Science, its peak academic award.

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite


Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, BA, MIR (Hons), MBA, DipLR, PhD, FIML, FCHSM, FFPHRCP (UK), FAcSS (UK), Hon FRACMA, FAHMS is Founding Director, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Director, Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, and Professor of Health Systems Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University. His research examines the changing nature of health systems, attracting funding of more than AUD$131 million (EUR€81.8 million, GBP£70.8 million).

He has contributed over 470 peer-reviewed publications presented at international and national conferences on more than 915 occasions, including 97 keynote addresses. His research appears in journals such as JAMA, British Medical Journal, The Lancet, BMC Medicine, BMJ Quality & Safety, and International Journal for Quality in Health Care. He has received numerous national and international awards for his teaching and research.

He is interested in the Anthropocene and the impact of human activity on human and species’ health, population and climate. He blogs at

Further details are available at his Wikipedia entry:

Ms. Michelle Sloane


Michelle’s background is in psychology and human resources working for many years in senior executive positions at Westpac, IBM and Unilever. Twenty years ago she established a human resources management consulting practice, Diversity Management, and led that organisation for 16 years. Michelle has worked extensively in the areas of change management, organisational analysis and design, human resource management, program management, stakeholder engagement as well as leadership development and training.

Michelle has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Technology, a Master of Arts (Psychology) from the University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales. In addition Michelle is a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Michelle has also been a Councillor for the City of Willoughby in Sydney. During her time as Councillor and Deputy Mayor, she has worked tirelessly with the local community advocating across a range of local and state-wide issues. Her interest in local government was developed over many years as a very active volunteer in her local community.

Professor Paul G. Bannon


Professor Paul Bannon is the Chair of The Baird Institute for Applied Heart and Lung Surgical Research, a not-for-profit medical research institute established in 2001, to improve the outcomes and better the lives of those undergoing heart and lung surgery.

He is Head of Department, Cardiothoracic Surgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney and holds the Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery and the Bosch Chair of Surgery, University of Sydney. He has performed over 2500 adult cardiac surgical procedures ranging from coronary artery bypass to complex aortic root and arch reconstructions. He is President of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons and is the Society representative to the Cardiac Surgery National Database. He is the Co-Chair of the Institute of Academic Surgery at RPAH where he also oversees the robotic surgical program. He heads the National MBS Taskforce Review for Cardiac Surgery and has held various positions in the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Professor Bannon’s teaching responsibilities are currently to all years of the Graduate Medical Program at Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. He supervises local and international Doctorate, Masters and Honours students as well as international elective students. He is the Co Editor-in-Chief of The Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery and a Director of the CORE Group for International Collaborative Research. Professor Bannon has published widely in books, journals and conference proceedings on cardiothoracic surgery, basic science and evidence based medicine.

He has a particular passion for translational research in the areas of congenital aortic and mitral valve disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, biomaterials and biocompatibility, limitation of blood product usage in cardiac surgery, the inflammatory response to bypass and the development of academic surgical careers. He is a current Chief Investigator on NHMRC and NHF grants for biomaterials and congenital heart disease research as well as a current NHMRC CRE grant on mechanical circulatory support. His role in the CRE is to produce NHMRC Clinical Practice Guidelines and measure their dissemination, adoption and outcomes. He personally oversees more than $500,000 worth of research funding annually. His Department currently runs 16 clinical trials amongst many other laboratory and clinically based projects.