Korea introduced the open heart surgery using cardiopulmonary bypass including, current thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, in the year 1950. A division of the Korean Surgical Society, the Association for Korean Cardiothoracic Surgeons (AKCS) was founded on December 16, 1967. The thoracic and cardiovascular surgery was separated from general surgery by four university-affiliated hospitals. On February 3, 1968, the initiators of this new society for cardiothoracic surgery organized a preparatory committee. Four introductory committee assemblies were held to establish the regulations and structure of the society. The establishment of the Korean Society for Thoracic and Cardiothoracic Surgery (KSTCS) was finally declared at the first plenary summit of the society, on May 18, 1968.
The first president was Dr. Gyuk-Bu Han, vice president and chief director were, Dr. Ki-Jeon Kim and Dr. Yung-Kyoon Lee.
Korean Medical Association approved the KSTCS the specialty license for thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in the year 1972.The formation of The Korean Heart Foundation in 1984, additionally accelerated the growth of cardiovascular surgery in Korea to support patients with congenital heart disease.
Presently, the organisation of the KSTCS includes the board of directors, 988 regular members, the executives (chief director, president, vice-presidents, secretary, and auditors) and 10 committees. From 1990, the KSTCS has formed a series of awards for the members known for outstanding successes in cardiothoracic surgery education and research. In 2005, KSTCS held its 37th Annual Meeting, with almost 131 oral and 20 poster presentations, three special lectures, and 900 registrants. At the meeting, 9 surgeons received awards: 2 were awarded the Lee Yung-Kyoon Prize for the excellent publications in the Korean Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 2 were awarded the Lillehei Prize for the outstanding publications and their contributions to the Society, 4 were awarded for brilliance in oral presentation, and one was awarded the Park Young-Kwan Prize for excellent research work.
Over the past 38 years, the aim of the KSTCS has remained the same: to promote and raise research and education in the field of cardiothoracic surgery in Korea.