Congenital cardiac surgery fellowship training: A status update

Kogon, B.; Karamlou, T.; Baumgartner, W.; Merrill, W.; Backer, C.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2016 Mar 24; 151(6):1488-95


BACKGROUND: In 2007, congenital cardiac surgery became a recognized fellowship by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and leads to board certification through the American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS). We highlight the strengths and weaknesses in the current system of accredited training. METHODS: Data were collected from program directors, the ACGME, and the ABTS. In addition, surveys were sent to training program graduates. Topics included program accreditation status, number of fellows trained per year and per program, match results, fellow operative experience, fellow satisfaction, and post-fellowship employment status. RESULTS: There are twelve active accredited fellowship programs, and 44 trainees have completed accredited training. Each active program has trained a median of 3 fellows (range: 0-7). Operative logs were obtained from 38 of 44 (86%) graduates. The median number of total cases (minimum 75) was 136 (range: 75-236). For complex neonates (minimum 5), the median number of cases was 6 (range: 2-17). Some fellows failed to meet the minimum requirements. Thirty-six (82%) graduates responded to the survey; most were satisfied with their overall operative experience, but less with their neonatal operative experience. Of this total, 84% are currently practicing congenital cardiac surgery, and 74% secured jobs prior to completing their residency. CONCLUSIONS: Since 2007, congenital cardiac surgery training has been accredited by the ACGME. In general, the training is uniform, the operative experience is robust, and the fellows are satisfied. Although shortcomings remain, this study highlights the many strengths of the current system.

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