After a long debate, the European Board for the Specialty of Cardiology (EBSC) has defined the training requirements of a “European cardiologist.” At present the duration of training varies greatly between the various countries of the European Union; moreover, some require as much as 5 years of internal medicine, others none. In the discussion, however, the most controversial issue was the number of procedures necessary for certification.
The board's primary purpose is to encourage a high standard of training as a prerequisite for free circulation of cardiologists in Europe (especially within the European Union). The criteria for a European cardiologist will not replace the national requirements; national bodies will continue to offer local accreditation. Rather, the qualification represents a supranational mark of high standards.
The total duration of recommended training is 6 years, with part of the core consisting of at least 2 years of general internal medicine (excluding cardiology). Basic training in cardiology is allocated 3 years; in addition there is a flexible year that may be devoted to internal medicine, general cardiology, cardiovascular research, or other work related to cardiology. At least 1 year of training in cardiology must take place in a full-time position, and a minimum of 1 year is to be on a cardiology ward. Trainees' progress will be assessed once a year by the head of the program. The EBSC does not presently favor a European examination, as proposed by equivalent boards in some other specialties. It has, however, specified requirements for training institutions and trainers, and any institution that meets the criteria will be confirmed as a European Institution for Training in Cardiology.
How many procedures? The Table⇓ summarizes the recommendations and compares them with guidelines approved in 1994 by the Board of Trustees of the American College of Cardiology. For many procedures the minimum numbers are greater than in the US guidelines, but some delegates still thought them insufficient; others were concerned that even the existing totals would be hard to achieve in the time proposed. The executive committee of the EBSC thinks that superspecialization will be needed in invasive and interventional cardiology regarding catheterization, arteriography, and electrophysiology.
- Copyright © 1996 by American Heart Association