Background: Cardiothoracic procedures are often lifesaving operations, and because of their complexity they are not without complications. Although major complications are often recognized and treated immediately, there are many less commonly identified complications that can and frequently should be addressed by otolaryngology colleagues during a patient's hospital course. Methods: This comprehensive review describes otolaryngologic complications of cardiac and thoracic surgery. Results: Dysphonia, dysphagia, stridor, tracheotomy hemorrhage, and pharyngeal tear are all complications of cardiothoracic procedures. Indications for treatment and treatment options are reviewed. The impact on quality of life and long-term morbidity is also discussed. Conclusions: Otolaryngologic complications are common after cardiothoracic procedures. An otolaryngologist should be asked to evaluate a patient with dysphonia, dysphagia, or stridor while the patient is an inpatient. Patients experiencing persistent or nonacute problems should be referred to otolaryngologists to discuss more long-term interventions.