Predictors of career choice among cardiothoracic surgery trainees

Vakhtang Tchantchaleishvili, Damien J. LaPar, David D. Odell, William Stein, Muhammad Aftab, Kathleen S. Berfield, Amanda L. Eilers, Shawn S. Groth, John F. Lazar, Michael P. Robich, Asad A. Shah, Danielle A. Smith, Elizabeth H. Stephens, Cameron T. Stock, Walter F. DeNino, Tom C. Nguyen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background The impact of factors influencing career choice by cardiothoracic surgery (CTS) trainees remains poorly defined in the modern era. We sought to examine the associations between CTS trainee characteristics and future career aspirations. Methods The 2012 Thoracic Surgery In-Training Examination survey results were used to categorize responders according to career interest: congenital, adult cardiac, mixed cardiac/thoracic, and general thoracic surgery. Univariate and multivariable analyses were used to identify and analyze characteristics associated with career interest categories. Results With a 100% response rate, 300 responses from trainees in programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education were included in the analysis. Multinomial logistic regression identified three factors associated with career choice in CTS: level of training (p < 0.001), type of training pathway (p < 0.001), and primary motivating factor to pursue CTS (p = 0.002). Trainees interested in general thoracic surgery were more likely to commit to CTS during their senior years of general surgery training and were more likely to enroll in 2-year or 3-year traditional fellowships, whereas individuals pursuing adult or congenital cardiac surgery were more likely to commit earlier during training and were more commonly interested in 6-year integrated or joint training pathways. Moreover, trainees interested in general thoracic surgery were predominantly influenced by early mentorship (p = 0.025 vs adult cardiac), and trainees interested in adult cardiac surgery were more likely to be influenced by types of operations (p = 0.047 vs general thoracic). Conclusions Career choice in CTS appears strongly associated with level of training, exposure to mentors, and training paradigm. These results demonstrate the importance of maintaining all four currently approved training pathways to retain balance and diversity in future CTS practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1849-1854
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Predictors of career choice among cardiothoracic surgery trainees'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this