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

Sarah T. Ward, Danielle Smith, Adin Cristian Andrei, George L. Hicks, Richard J. Shemin, John H. Calhoon, Carolyn Reed, Edward D. Verrier, David A. Fullerton, Richard Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2051-2056
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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