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Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg Pediatr Card Surg Annu. 2017 Jan;20:67-69. doi: 10.1053/j.pcsu.2016.09.002.

Congenital Heart Surgery Subspecialty Certification: How Is It Working? The American Board of Thoracic Surgery Perspective.

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The Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Professor of Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH. Electronic address:


Congenital heart surgery is among the most challenging fields in all of medicine. The unique skills and knowledge base required prompted the American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS) to establish the Subspecialty Certificate in Congenital Heart Surgery (CHS). Standards for operative experience and fellowship training programs were established by the ABTS and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Since 2009, 188 Subspecialty Certificates in CHS have been granted, including 38 earned through the fellowship training pathway. Today, the overwhelming majority of congenital heart surgeons in the United States hold a Subspecialty Certificate in CHS. Recent survey data suggests those individuals who have completed Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education fellowship training in CHS were satisfied with the operative experience they received during training and the vast majority are practicing CHS. While surgical training and education will always be a work in progress, in the 7 years since its inception, the ABTS Subspecialty Certificate in CHS has achieved the goal of quality control and standardization of CHS training.

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