Abstract 3248: Is It Safe to Train Residents to Perform Cardiac Surgery? Intermediate Term Follow-up
Introduction While there are rigourous assessments made of trainees’ knowledge through formal examinations, objective assessments of technical skills are not available. Little is known about the safety of allowing resident trainees to perform cardiac surgical operations.
Methods Peri-operative date was prospectively collected on all patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), aortic valve replacement (AVR) or a combined procedure between 1998 and 2005. Teaching-cases were identified by resident records and defined as cases which the resident performed skin to skin. Pre-operative characteristics were compared between teaching and non-teaching cases. Short-term adverse events were defined as a composite of: in-hospital mortality, stroke, intra- or post-operative intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) insertion, myocardial infarction, renal failure, wound infection, sepsis or return to the operating room. Intermediate adverse outcomes were defined as hospital readmission for any cardiac disease or late mortality. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard models were used to adjust for differences in age, acuity, and medical co-morbidities. Outcomes were compared between teaching and non-teaching cases.
Results 6929 cases were included, 895 of which were identified as teaching-cases. Teaching-cases were more likely to have an EF<40%, pre-operative IABP, CHF, combined CABG/AVRs or total arterial grafting cases (all p<0.01). However, a case being a teaching-case was not a predictor of in-hospital mortality (OR=1.02, 95%CI 0.67–1.55) or the composite short-term outcome (OR=0.97, 95%CI 0.75–1.24). The Kaplan-Meier event-free survival of staff and teaching-cases was equivalent at 1, 3, and 5 years: 80% vs. 78%, 67% vs. 66%, and 58% vs. 55% (log-rank p=0.06). Cox proportional hazards regression modeling did not demonstrate teaching-case to be a predictor of late death or re-hospitalization (HR=1.05, 95%CI 0.94 –1.18).
Conclusions Teaching-cases were more likely to have greater acuity and complexity than non-teaching cases. Despite this, teaching cases did no worse than staff cases in the short or intermediate term. Allowing residents to perform cardiac surgery does not appear to adversely affect patient outcomes.