Talking with Dr. Luis Marcelo Argote Green, National Institute of Medical Science

Talking to the interesting and entertaining Dr. Marcelo Argote Green, of Mexico City at the LXXI Congreso for Sociedad Mexicana de Neumologia y Cirugia de Torax


A wicked streak of good luck allowed me to catch up with Dr.  Luis Marcelo Argote Green at the Mexican Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery conference in Cancun for an interview.

Dr. Argote Green has been practicing in Mexico City for four years, since completing his fellowship in thoracic surgery at Brigham Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.  He trained under the guidance of several of the most prominent American thoracic surgeons including the ever elusive* Dr. David Sugarbaker.

Dr. Argote maintains an active, and diverse practice as he is currently operating in several facilities within the supercity, including that National Institute of Medical Science.  This gives him a wide range of exposure and experience to patients from all across the city, and across all demographic lines.  As a surgeon at one of the countries more prominent public facilities, he also receives patients from around the country – particularly the more challenging or complex cases.  He reports that this along with the high incidence of HIV and other autoimmune conditions such as scleroderma and lupus make his day-to-day practice different from the average small town physicians practice, or even the West Roxbury Veteran’s facility where he completed some of this training.  “I saw maybe two or three cases with patients with this level of complex co-morbidities when I was training, but here I see it everyday.”  He enjoys this aspect of his work which gives him a deeper level of experience than he might otherwise have at this stage in his career.

He has also embraced minimally invasive technologies such as VATS, and RATS, and currently performs uni-port lung biopsies, and VATS lobectomies.  He also particularly enjoys treating patients with mediastinal masses, and uses a unilateral VATS approach for many of these tumor resections versus the traditional median sternotomy.

During our in-depth conversation, we also discussed some of the differences I had observed during my time in Mexico – particularly the inter-collegial relationships between pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons.  He explained that this is due in part to a shared history, and that in Mexico – thoracic surgery was a outbranching of pulmonary medicine, as pulmonologists initially sought additional training in more invasive procedures, including surgery.  While there is now more delineation between the specialties, there remains a sense of commonality often spoken of during this conference by the participants which is sometimes striking to outsiders like myself.

* Long-time readers know of our ongoing attempts to contact Dr. Sugarbaker for an interview.

Surgery at altitude, part I

Calling all thoracic surgeons – particularly those in La Paz, Quito, Bogota and Mexico City.. We have an opportunity for collaborative research.

One of our newest endeavors is a research project on thoracic surgery at moderate altitude.  We’ve completed our review of existing literature, and developed our patient parameters and data collection points.

The main base of our operations is Flagstaff, Arizona, which is located at 7000 ft. (2,000 meters) making it the highest altitude cardiothoracic program in the United States.  The Flagstaff site has several strengths in that much of our patient population comes from the surrounding areas; which are located at both higher and lower elevations.  However, one of the weaknesses in Flagstaff is our small patient population – as a single surgeon site devoted to both cardiac and thoracic surgery – our lung surgery volumes are fairly small.

Right now, I am doing some of the preliminary work with the hospital – meeting with staff to apply for IRB approval, and formalizing the data collection process.  I am also interested in recruiting surgeons from other sites to participate in data collection.   Dedicated thoracic surgeons with large thoracic surgery practices would be ideal – and all results will be published and presented by surgeon/ and site.

We are particularly interested in recruiting surgeons from the following areas:

1.  La Paz, Bolivia

2.  Quito, Ecuador

3.  Bogotá, Colombia

4.  Mexico City, DF  – Mexico

These four cities combined house many millions of people living at moderate altitudes, and would help provide for a wider and more expansive collection of data on patients undergoing thoracic surgery.  Demographic differences (such as pre-existing thoracic diseases, incidence of heavy cigarette smoking, etc.) of geographic locales will also allow for further points of comparison.

Please contact Cirugia de Torax if you are interested in participating.  All participating surgeons and institutions will receive credit (in accordance to level of participation) in any and all subsequent professional and scientific publications.


You can also contact me, K. Eckland, directly at :  Please place ‘cirugia de torax’ or ‘altitude project’ in the sibject line.