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Cardiac and Thoracic Surgical Unit

The Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery Unit at Flinders Medical Centre provides surgical management of a variety of different cardiovascular and thoracic conditions including:

  • ischaemic heart disease;
  • valvular disease (both valve replacement and repair, including for rheumatic heart disease);
  • aortic disease (including valve-sparing aortic surgery);
  • adult congenital heart conditions;
  • some paediatric procedures (at Women's and Children's Hospital); and
  • both benign and malignant lung and other chest diseases.

CTSU has particular expertise in cardiac surgery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with more than 100 Northern Territory patients being seen each year.

We service the southern region of Adelaide, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Darwin and many country centres.

In collaboration with Interventional Cardiology, CTSU is also a leader in trans catheter valve procedures (TAVI's). In addition, CTSU is the referral centre for South Australia and the Northern Territory for extraction of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defribillator devices in the event of complications.

CTSU has a research team lead by Associate Professor Rob Baker, and strong links with Flinders University. The research team is widely recognised for its commitment to high quality evidence based practice in cardiac surgery and extracorpreal technology (cardiopulmonary bypass).



Cardiac Surgery at Flinders has endeavoured to build a strong research platform to support the excellent clinical unit. This has resulted in the formation of our research group "Cardiac Surgery Research", and has allowed us to successfully publish over 50 papers in many of the most recognised journals in Cardiac surgery and Perfusion Research.

The research unit has received support from major granting bodies including the NHMRC and the NHF, with additional support from RACS, Flinders Foundation and Corporate grants. Additionally, students in the unit have been able to gain research scholarships including, NHF and University Postgraduate scholarships and the prestigious Sir Robert Menzies Scholarship.

The unit is currently involved in a number of ongoing clinical studies and we have project areas available for surgical trainees and other graduates wishing to pursue a a research higher degree at Flinders Univerisity.

Current research programs available include:

  • Masters of Surgery
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Masters of Biotechnology
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Current research

  • Evaluation of the role of mood state on cardiac surgical patients.
  • Evaluation of the role of Troponin T in the assessment of myocardial damage.
  • Biofeedback: Creating improved clinical practice in cardiac surgery.
  • Perfusion Downunder Collaboration Database Project.
  • Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons Database Project.
  • Lighthouse Foundation Project improving care and outcomes for Indigenous Australians
  • TRICS III Transfusion Requirements in Cardiac Surgery
  • ITACS Evaluating a preoperative, single-dose of intravenous iron in patients with anaemia having elective cardiac surgery
  • Centre of Research Excellence in cardiovascular outcomes improvement.



The Cardiac Surgical Unit at Flinders Medical Centre was formed in January 1992 under the Directorship of Iain Ross, since that time open heart numbers have increased from 269 in the first year to an estimated 589 cases in 2015. The service is now provided from the operating suite located in the Flinders Private Hospital.

The Surgical Unit was accredited by the Royal Australian College of Surgeons for cardiothoracic training in 1995 and has had a strong involvement in postgraduate training at a state and national level since that time. The service is involved in graduate medical teaching through its commitment to the new postgraduate medical program.

A commitment to research was integral to the establishment of Cardiac Surgery at Flinders Medical Centre and the Cardiac Surgical Research Group was formed in 1995. The Research Group has continued to develop an integrated clinical research program, combined with laboratory based research activity, with the primary areas of interest relating to outcomes of Cardiac Surgery.

The new millenium has proved an exciting period in Cardiac Surgical Research at Flinders. This has resulted in a number of international presentations and publications.

A major area of the group's research activities has focused on the neuropsychological sequelae of cardiac surgery, culminating in a number of new research initiatives being developed.