When is your surgeon good enough? When do you need a "referent surgeon"?

Patrick M. McCarthy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Recent American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines recommend mitral valve repair in asymptomatic patients at an experienced center, assuming the likelihood for repair is ≥ 90%. This has raised the question of how you define an experienced center (or surgeon). This article describes thoughts on the criteria that should make up a Center of Excellence: surgical training; intraoperative echocardiography; high volume; cardiology involvement; audit of clinical outcomes and outcomes of repair; and associated surgery for atrial fibrillation and tricuspid regurgitation. High-volume programs (≥ 140 mitral valve operations per year) have the lowest mortality and highest repair rate. Although some pathologic conditions may be repaired with a high degree of certainty by experienced (nonreferent) surgeons, considerable variation still exists. Recent publications of repair rates and outcomes using minimally invasive surgery and conventional surgery highlight this variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Cardiology Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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