Training Programs and Case Observations

The East Carolina Heart Institute offers the most current surgical systems with the da Vinci® Si in the operating room and the training center.

Since every surgeon who trains at the East Carolina Heart Institute possesses a different level of experience, we tailor each training experience to best meet those needs. In addition to the primary surgeon, our courses aim to train hospital administrators, cardiologists, electrophysiologists, and operating room managers, as well as surgical team members including anesthesiologists, anesthetists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, perfusionists, registered nurses, and surgical technicians.

The East Carolina Heart Institute features the da Vinci ® Si Surgical System in our training center and in the operating rooms at Vidant Medical Center. Additionally, our staff continues to work with surgeons who we train even after they leave our center. Dr. Nifong often provides proctoring services at the trainees' own institutions and oversees robotic cases to help ensure success.

Advanced Mitral Valve Courses: Under the direction of Dr. Wiley Nifong, this two-day course is designed to include live case observations and hands-on cadaveric training for primary surgeons as well as their complete operative team. We can also tailor the course to meet individual needs.

Advanced Cryomaze Courses: The focus of this course is on treatment of Atrial Fibrillation using minimally invasive robotic techniques. This experience includes live case observation, hands-on lab training, and discussion with electrophysiologists.

Personal Mentorship Case Observations: Observe Dr. Nifong and Dr. Alwair perform cardiac robotic procedures using the da Vinci® Si Surgical System.

Cardiac Mini-Fellowship Courses: The Mini-Fellowship is designed to provide comprehensive da Vinci System training and corresponding clinical applications for cardiac surgical teams. Course objectives are:

  • To demonstrate least invasive port-only approach to cardiac procedures using the da Vinci Surgical System.
  • To determine the optimal way to participate in a multidisciplinary approach to treating cardiac disorders to improve patient outcomes.
  • To enhance the decision-making process and surgical technique when treating cardiac patients.
  • To define the roles and responsibilities of each team member.
  • To provide continuity in training.