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May 2009

ISMETT cardiac surgeons act as high school teachers

Cardiac surgeons from ISMETT became teachers for a day to explain the importance of cardiac surgery to a group of high school students from the secondary school Gregorio Ugdulena in Termini Imerese. The students, who came to ISMETT last February, watched an aortic valve replacement surgery with mechanical prosthesis via videoconference.

ISMETT, a partnership of UPMC and the Italian government, is the first hospital in Italy designed exclusively for transplants and treatment of end-stage organ failure. Opened in 1999, ISMETT provides all solid organ transplants for adults and liver, kidney, and lung procedures for pediatric patients. 

Bruno Gridelli, MD, ISMETT director, stressed the importance of a correct and in-depth approach to medicine by the younger generation, and then focused on organ donation and transplantation, and the health care activities performed at ISMETT.

Gianluca Santise, MD, showed students heart anatomy, the main heart diseases, and the most remarkable surgical techniques. The interactive connection with the operating room started immediately after Dr. Santise’s presentation, thanks to the help of Salvo Bruccheri and Giovanni Carfì, IT operators at ISMETT.

The medical-nursing team was composed of Michele Pilato, MD, director, Cardiothoracic Surgery; Vincenzo Stringi, MD, surgeon; Antonio Arcadipane, MD, director, ICU and Anesthesia; and Andrea Spatola, Daniela Riggio, and Romilde Morici, nurses. During the surgery session, Dr. Santise explained the procedure performed on a patient with aortic valve stenosis, while Dr. Pilato answered questions from the conference room.

The day continued with a visit to the Renato Fiandaca Simulation Center, where Francesco Pirone, MD, cardiac surgeon, and Filippo Marchese, critical care nurse educator, gave an overview of the goals and activities of the center.

At the end of the learning experience, the students and their teachers applauded and thanked each other. All agree it was an uncommon and interesting initiative to engage high school students in this way.

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