Cardiothoracic Surgery Symposium

CREF™ (Cardiothoracic Research and Education Forum) hosts the international, interdisciplinary Cardiothoracic Surgery Symposium™, a 4-day conference that is regarded as one of the best perfusion meetings in the world. It also provides high-quality Category 1 CME and CEU education for the entire CVOR and ICU teams.

Since 1981, the CREF mission has remained steadfast: to provide outstanding, affordable, relevant continuing education; to share the latest research by world-renowned experts; and to promote optimal patient care. The CREF organizing committee members are dedicated to fulfilling that mission — year after year.


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How do attendees rate CREF overall?
2011 – 2023

How do attendees rate CREF's educational content?
2011 – 2023

Thank you for a great conference. I was impressed with the quality of the presentations. If I had known CREF was this good, I would have attended years ago. Better late than never.

It’s the best meeting, the #1 choice. We rotate in our practice to attend!

CREF is the strongest meeting year in and year out. Always pertinent to the practice of our profession.

For what it’s worth, I believe CREF is the best perfusion conference out there. The speakers are knowledgeable, current and friendly. Thank you to all who play a role in putting on this valuable meeting."

Love this meeting!I travel from Ohio and it is always worth the trip. The information and inspiration is fantastic. Regardless of the venue, I plan to attend this meeting for years to come.

I have so much to bring home. Thank you for the opportunity to listen to a team from the best.

CREF is the best meeting for perfusionists. I haven’t been for two years, and I've missed it. The organization, content, everything is superior.

— John H.

I found [CREF] helpful because it provided me with tools and ideas . . . [to] take back to my program and utilize right then . . . not some hypothetical research that had yet to be justified by time and use. . . . I look forward to returning next year.

— Curt K.

I am looking forward to your meeting. It is always one of the best. Being back in San Diego is an added bonus.  

— Mary E.

What a great conference CREF is! It has changed my view of perfusionists and the entire team.

— John L., Hong Kong

The downtown San Diego CREF is one of the best meetings in the country.”

Thank you for decades of great educational content for the whole cardiac surgical team.

I like that there are a variety of vendors and exhibits [at CREF], and that there are hands-on things to do compared to other meetings.

CREF validates my practice because I see what others do vs. my work.

Good job staying away from bias!

Refreshing to attend a meeting where plenary talks are SCIENCE, not SALES.

This conference is a GEM and addresses so many issues that enhance my practice.

Very organized and well-run conference with an excellent array of speakers, topics, and accommodations.

I heard only good things about CREF until I attended, and I was not disappointed!”

I’ve been coming since the 80’s. CREF has really helped my professional development and given me pride in the profession.

I think it is by far the best meeting available to perfusionists.

Excellent! Always a great learning opportunity.

This was my first time at CREF. I loved that there was a variety of content to choose from and things to do near the hotel. I brought my entire family, and we enjoyed spending time at the pool, downtown, etc.

Josh P.

Most meetings peak on the first day, but CREF maintains that high quality and energy level until the final session.

William M.

The best thing about attending CREF is that you never know what little gems you're going to pick up in some side meeting or conversation with a colleague.

Matt C.

Keep doing a nice job. This 2017 meeting was exceptionally good. Five stars.

You all did an awesome job. Enjoyed this meeting’s continued focus on the science. I will be back.

As a newcomer of this field, it is the meeting that tells me what is the real face of this field. Maybe several months are needed to digest what I have learned in San Diego.

Tong L.

"Wonderful wonderful meeting, organization, location, etc. Cannot WAIT until next year!! Thank you so much for everything!!"

"This was my first CREF conference and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The topics and speakers were excellent. I hope to be back next year!

"The program was fantastic. The topics were so thought provoking—gave me a lot to think about on my way back."

"This was my first big meeting and I loved it! I learned so much!"

"Nice meeting! My first. I would like to come again! It is convenient for SoCal locals :)"

"First conference I’ve been to. Would come back again."

"This is by far the best meeting for Perfusionists."