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Crit Care Med. 2006 Sep;34(9):2282-6.

Structure of surgical critical care and trauma fellowships.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Surgical critical care (SCC) and trauma fellowships have developed in a variety of formats. Although SCC fellowships must meet specific requirements for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, trauma fellowships do not. As the American Board of Surgery is considering combining SCC, trauma, and emergency surgery into "acute care surgery" fellowship training, a better understanding of current program structures is needed.


The Education Committee of the Surgery Section of the Society of Critical Care Medicine sent surveys by e-mail to all SCC program directors. The survey included questions regarding the content of the fellowship, specifically, subspecialty rotations, trauma content, and operative experience. If they offered a trauma fellowship, the survey queried its structure also.


A total of 39 of 82 surveys were returned. About one third of the programs have only SCC fellowships, one third combine SCC/trauma in 1-yr programs, and the remainder combine SCC/trauma in 2 yrs. Of the programs, 79% provided operative experience: 15% on a separate rotation and 39% on call during intensive care unit coverage. About half of the operative experiences were related to trauma and one quarter to emergency general surgery. The great majority of rotations were in general surgical or trauma intensive care units.


SCC programs already include meaningful trauma and emergency general surgery operative experience. Surgical subspecialty intensive care unit and operative rotations may contribute to optimal training of the "acute care surgeon."

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