Cardiothoracic Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgeons diagnose, treat and surgically manage a broad spectrum of patients with congenital or acquired disorders involving the heart, great vessels, lungs and thorax. A cardiothoracic surgeon’s scope of work includes treating arrhythmias, blocked coronary arteries, heart failure, atrial and ventricular septal defects, pulmonary emboli, malignancies of the lung and pleura as well as traumatic injuries.

Clinical Practice

Cardiothoracic surgeons work within both public and private facilities, undertaking both emergency and elective surgical services as well as post-operative and outpatient care. Cardiothoracic surgeons also often provide outreach surgical services to regional and rural patients. Procedures commonly performed by a cardiothoracic surgeon include coronary bypass surgery, aortic surgery, surgery for lung or other thoracic tumours, chest wall surgery as well as heart and lung transplantation surgery.

Cardiothoracic Surgery – Information

Number of specialists - QLD

Number of new fellows - QLD

Number of specialists - AUS

Number of new fellows - AUS

Average weekly hours

Average Age

% Aged 60+

54% of 2019 workforce intend to retire by 2029

Proportion Female/Male - QLD


Location - QLD

Major cities

Public/Private QLD


Number of trainees - QLD

Number of new trainees - QLD

Number of trainees - AUS

Number of new trainees - AUS

PGY new trainees - QLD

Proportion Female/Male - QLD


Length of Training

6 years full-time

Method of Allocation

College-selected trainees may be allocated to a training post by:

  • College
  • Queensland Health pathway/network (centrally coordinated)
  • Queensland Health facility (accredited for training)

Training and assessment summary

For detailed information in relation to training and assessment requirements, please contact RACS.

Training program overview

Cardiothoracic surgery trainees are selected directly into the sub-specialty and progress through the SET (Surgical Education and Training) program, an integrated program designed to provide clinical and operative experience to enable trainees to manage both cardiac and thoracic conditions that relate to the specialty. The main components of SET training are placements in hospital posts, short courses (skills and specialty-specific), research and assessments. Upon completing all requirements of the training program, trainees may apply for admission to Fellowship of RACS.


Applicants must have permanent residency or citizenship of Australia and New Zealand at the time of registration and hold general (unconditional) medical registration in Australia or general scope or restricted general scope registration in the relevant specialty in New Zealand. Applicants are also required to have successfully completed the RACS Hand Hygiene Learning Module and RACS Let’s Operate With Respect eModule and have passed the RACS Generic Surgical Science Examination (GSSE). In addition, applicants must have completed particular surgical and cardiothoracic surgery rotations, must have evidence that they have performed certain procedural skills and professional capabilities. Further details are available from RACS.


Minimum 50% of full-time commitment however trainees must apply to the relevant specialty board at least 6 months prior to the proposed commencement of part-time training. Training must be completed within 10 years.

Interrupted training

Trainees must apply to the relevant specialty board at least 6 months prior to the commencement of the training year in which the proposed interruption will commence.

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Regional Training Pathways