Perceptions of Training Pathways from Recent Cardiothoracic Surgery Graduates


  • Alison F. Ward, MD Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Augusta University Health, Augusta, GA, USA
  • Neel K. Ranganath, MD Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY, USA
  • Stacey Chen, MD Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY, USA
  • Tyler Wallen, DO Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
  • Amie J. Kent, MD Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY, USA
  • Deane E. Smith III, MD Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY, USA
  • Zachary N. Kon MD Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Northwell Health, Manhasset, NY, USA



training, surgical education


Background: There are three cardiothoracic surgery (CTS) training pathways—general surgery residency followed by a CTS residency of 2-3 years (traditional), 4 years of general surgery and 3 years of CTS residency (4+3), and an integrated 6-year pathway (I-6). The goal of this study was to survey early career cardiothoracic surgeons regarding their training experiences.

Methods: An email-based survey was sent to cardiothoracic surgeons, who graduated between 2012-2017. Data on training pathway specific variables and overall satisfaction were collected. The primary endpoints were career preparation and satisfaction, scored on a scale from 1-100, 100 being the most positive.

Results: Four hundred seventy-seven emails were sent, with a response rate of 95/477 (20%). Seventy-six of the respondents (80%) were male; the mean age was 39. Seventy-seven (81.0%) completed a traditional training pathway, 7 (7.4%) completed a 4+3 pathway, and 11 (11.6%) completed an I-6 pathway. Participants felt prepared for practice with a mean response of 79.8 (range 31-100); mean career satisfaction was 87.6.  When asked which pathway respondents would choose in the current era, 52 (54.7%) would choose a traditional pathway, 17 (17.9%) a 4+3 pathway, and 19 (20.0%) an I-6 program; 7 (7.4%) did not respond. Twenty of 72 (27.8%) traditional pathway trained and 18/18(100%) integrated pathway trained surgeons would choose an integrated pathway.

Conclusions: This is the first survey addressing perceptions of training from early-career cardiothoracic surgeons across all training pathways. Data from this study provides insights to better understand how to improve CTS training for the next generation of surgeons.


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How to Cite

Ward, A., Ranganath, N. K. ., Chen, S., Wallen, T., Kent, A. J., Smith III, D. E., & Kon, Z. N. (2021). Perceptions of Training Pathways from Recent Cardiothoracic Surgery Graduates. The Heart Surgery Forum, 24(4), E684-E689.