The University of Texas Health (UTH) Science Center at Memorial Hermann Hospital is able to provide a number of elective rotation placements in Cardiovascular (CV) Surgery and/or Cardiology for medical students from Slovenia and elsewhere for a maximum period of 2 months. The rotation is under the auspices and direct mentorship of Igor D Gregoric, MD, the world-renown cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon who is the chief of Heart and Vascular Institute at the Memorial Hermann Hospital. His assistant Ms Eva Pongratz and your local coordinator will help you with all aspects of the rotation.

This elective rotation is beneficial to all medical students no matter their speciality interests but is vital for individuals interested in cardiovascular medicine as it gives them an invaluable opportunity to learn from some of the United States’ leading medical professionals. It is also highly recommended to anyone who wishes to pursue a medical career in the United States as you will get to know the medical system in general as well.

If you are considering applying for an elective rotation placement please make sure that you read the Entry requirements for all students who wish to apply and familiarise yourself with the Application process. We have included a FAQ page which you may find useful if you have any further questions.

Available rotations

The following rotations are available throughout the year:

  • Cardiovascular surgery – 1 month
  • Cardiology – 1 month
  • Cardiovascular surgery AND cardiology – 2 months

Check the Application process page for the list of vacancies.

Learning objectives

By the end of this rotation, the student will be able to:

  • Present patient information in a clear, concise, and organized manner.
  • Create a diagnostic and therapeutic approach and present it to a patient with advanced heart failure.
  • Utilise analytical skills to discuss the appropriate use of mechanical circulatory support devices in patients with advanced heart failure.
  • Discuss end-of-life issues related to the care of patients with advanced heart failure.
  • Develop practical surgical skills.

Entry requirements

In order to be considered for this elective rotation you must meet the entry requirements set out below. We would recommend that you ensure you are able to meet all of these requirements before applying:

  • Students must be at least in their 4th year of medical studies for the duration of the placement that they are applying for.
  • They must provide the required documentation in a timely manner.
  • Must be able to cover the expenses of the rotation.
  • Must be in good standing at their university.

Self-initiative and enthusiasm are expected from all students. Be prepared to take on daily tasks, put your knowledge and skills to a test and work long hours.

Cardiovascular Surgery

This elective rotation exposes students to the management of patients with advanced heart failure (AHF). Students will work one-on-one with physicians on a cardiac transplant service, have first-hand access to the most current information in the use of ventricular assist devices (VADs) in the surgical treatment of heart failure patients, round with physicians, and participate in heart transplant and other surgeries. They will be introduced to the history/progression of mechanical circulatory support, the variety of available pumps (pulsatile, axial, centrifugal), patient selection, surgical procedures, management, and outcomes of patients with AHF. In addition, they also have an option to rotate in the Department of Cardiology where they will be exposed to all aspects of cardiovascular disease.

During the first days you will be given an introduction to the rotation and the department, a guided tour of the OR complex, and a scrub class. Following the scrubbing instructions is mandatory even if you have previous experience as each hospital may have a slightly different procedure. You will be given a scrub card to get the appropriate OR clothing.

Here is a list of surgeries you can expect to be assigned to so you can familiarise yourself with them in advance: Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG), Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR), Mitral Valve Replacement (MVR), Mitral Valve Plasty/Repair (MVP), Tricuspid Valve Replacement (TVR), Tricuspid Valve Plasty/Repair (TVP), Carotid Endardectomy (CEA), Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm (TAAA), Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA), Heart Transplantation (HTX), Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD).


ORs are located on the 7th floor of the Heart & Vascular Institute building. Check the OR schedule regularly as sometimes changes are made during the day. ICU is located on the 5th floor of the HVI building.


  • 6:30 – Arrive at the department, follow-up with patients that you care for or whose surgeries you assisted with, prepare for surgeries scheduled for that day
  • 7:00 – Bedside rounds in the ICU with all surgeons and cardiologists
  • Surgeries (all day, usually 3 cases per OR): you will scrub-in, after surgery you will go with the patients to their room and stay with them until stable or connected to the monitors
  • Cath Lab – TAVR’s (Trans Aortic/Apical Valve Replacement)
  • Surgical Clinic (all day)
  • Afternoon Rounds
  • Around 19:00 – End of Working Day


  • 9:30-15:30 – Busy Clinic


  • 8.00 – MRB Meeting
  • 9:30-16:00 – Busy Clinic


  • 13:00 – VAD Clinic
  • 9:15-17:00 – Outside Clinics


  • 7:30 – Pathology Meeting / M&M Meeting / Active LVAD/Transplant Patients Discussions
  • 12:30 – Grand Rounds / Publication Meeting


  • 7:00 – Inpt. Flowsheet Rounds

A number of lectures and courses will also be organised throughout the month especially for students.

The hospital has so much to offer. If there are no surgeries scheduled for the day you can observe at the Clinic or go to the ICU. After your regular schedule, you may join the physicians for rotations, emergency surgeries during the night, visit the ER, do research etc. How much you take and gain is up to you.

Useful tips:

  • Be assertive and show interest, you will notice you can do a lot during the surgeries.
  • Make sure you are in the OR on time so you can help with preparing the patient (positioning, shaving, etc.)
  • Always ask if you don’t know or understand something, the surgeons will be more than happy to answer your questions.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.


Advanced Heart Failure Clinic

(under construction)

Students have an option to rotate in the Department of Cardiology where they will be exposed to all aspects of cardiovascular disease. See schedule for CV Surgery as you will generally attend the same rounds and meetings as surgical students. After that you will follow your mentors at the clinic and other departments.

Suggested Reading

Intermacs Classification of Heart Failure