The CTVS department was initially started as Department of Thoracic surgery in 1966 by Dr. P.S. Narayanan and later headed by Dr. S.B. Sen in 1974 and by Dr. B.K. Gupta in 1976. From 1978 to till date (2011) Dr. K.S.V.K. Subbarao has been the head of this department. Other faculty members including Dr. Amit Banerjee, Dr. Nachiappan & Dr. Abid Jeelani have also made marked contributions for the growth of the department. Though the first open heart operation was attempted in 1973, it was successfully performed in 1983. In 1986, the first valve replacement operation was done and in the same year, regular Senior Residents were recruited. In 1988, a symposium was organized on Bronchoscopy. In 1990, it attained the privilege of conducting clinical trials for the implantation of TTK-Chitra – Prosthetic heart valve as one of the six centers chosen across the country. In 1992, the postdoctoral course (MCh) in the field of Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery was started. The department has also served to conduct DNB examination for Cardiothoracic Surgery. Two of the MCh Students from this department won the gold medal in DNB examination for cardiothoracic surgery.
One of the most prestigious awards of Indian Association of Cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons (IACTS), the Godrej Karai Oration Award was conferred to Prof. K.S.V.K. Subbarao for the year 2012 during the 58th Annual conference of and the First Joint workshop with European Association for Cardiothoracic Surgery (EACTS) for his lifetime contribution to the field of thoracic surgery and during the same conference the best paper award at national level was given to the paper from this department, ‘A series of versatile thoracic aortic operations - three year experience at JIPMER’. And also the best paper award at the national level was won by the perfusionists from this department in the 12th Annual conference conducted by the Indian Society of Extracorporeal Technology.