Comparison of cardiothoracic training curricula: Integrated six-year versus traditional programs

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Background: Traditionally, cardiothoracic residency programs are 2 or 3 years in length and require the completion of a general surgery residency. Six-year integrated programs (IP) that directly match fourth-year medical students have been recently developed. Our objective was to examine the curricula of traditional 2-year (T2) and 3-year (T3) programs and compare them to the curricula of IP. Methods: We requested curricula from the directors of all IP, T2, and T3 programs participating in the 2011 to 2012 match. We compared the median number of months spent on a cardiothoracic (CT) rotation, an adult cardiac rotation, a thoracic rotation, and a congenital rotation, as well as time spent on "other" nonsurgical rotations. Traditional programs were categorized into 1 of 3 pathways: combined cardiothoracic (CCT), adult cardiac (AC), or general thoracic (GT). Results: Integrated programs spend more time on general thoracic rotations when compared with CCT-T2, CCT-T3, AC-T2, and AC-T3 pathways (p = 0.009, p = 0.046, p = 0.001 and p = 0.028, respectively). The IP spend a similar amount of time on CT, adult cardiac, and congenital rotations when compared when 2- and 3-year CCT, AC, and GT pathways. Of note, IP spend significantly more time on "other" nonsurgical rotations than all other pathways (p < 0.001 to 0.008). Conclusions: Integrated programs should not be considered "cardiac pathways" as they spend a significant amount of time on thoracic rotations. Additional nonsurgical rotations provide an opportunity for residents in IP to develop unique skills not currently provided in traditional programs. © 2013 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.




Ward, S. T., Smith, D., Andrei, A. C., Hicks, G. L., Shemin, R. J., Calhoon, J. H., … Lee, R. (2013). Comparison of cardiothoracic training curricula: Integrated six-year versus traditional programs. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 95(6), 2051–2056.

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