Are There Gaps in Current Thoracic Surgery Residency Training Programs?

Danny Chu*, Ara A. Vaporciyan, Mark D. Iannettoni, John S. Ikonomidis, David D. Odell, Richard J. Shemin, Sandra L. Starnes, William Stein, Vinay Badhwar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background Cardiothoracic surgery is rapidly evolving to adapt to a changing health care environment and a wider application of innovative techniques. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Workforce on Thoracic Surgery Resident Issues Transition to Practice Task Force sought to identify new or existing gaps of training in contemporary thoracic surgery residency training programs. Methods A voluntary survey consisting of 24 questions was distributed to recent graduates of thoracic surgery residency programs in the United States during the 2014 American Board of Thoracic Surgery oral examination application process. Fifty-five of 132 applicants anonymously participated. Results The majority of respondents admitted that they needed more instruction or lacked confidence with the following specific cardiothoracic procedures: minimally invasive cardiac operations (25/52, 48%), robotic cardiac operations (29/52, 55.8%), endovascular operations (28/52, 53.8%), robotic pulmonary operations (29/52, 55.8%), minimally invasive esophageal operations (24/52, 46.2%), robotic esophageal operations (32/52, 61.5%), and operations on congenital cardiac conditions (31/52, 59.6%). The respondents further declared either a need for more instruction or lack of confidence in employment contracting (17/21, 81.0%), negotiating terms of employment (17/21, 81.0%), and professional service agreements (16/21, 76.2%). Conclusions Further exposure to minimally invasive robotic procedures, operations on congenital conditions, and issues of practice management appear to be needed in contemporary cardiothoracic training in the United States. These identified gaps may assist cardiothoracic surgery residency programs to optimally prepare future graduates for our evolving specialty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2350-2355
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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