Freakingout

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Hello, I’m interested in pursuing pediatric cardiology and am currently looking at peds programs. It seems that there are relatively few programs with good CTsurgery exposure during residency. How important is this for my future career in pediatric cardiology? Is this more of a fellowship issue than a residency issue? Thank you very much.

-This was Posted for a friend
 

CrazyPeds527

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Only my opinion, as a resident who is interested in Cardiology and cardiac intensive care:

It's a nice bonus to be at a program that exposes you as a resident to CT surg patients and post-op care, but not a necessity. So many programs, including some of the best residencies in the country, are going away from the model of of residents taking care of CT surg patients because the complexity of their care has gone up significantly over the past 15 years or so. At many places, the experience is fellows only, and from talking to a couple of cardiologists who got to care for post-op kids during their residency, both of them mentioned that they really didn't learn how to care for these kids properly until fellowship, because the knowledge gap was so large.

Even at the attending level, at many institutions, cardiac intensive care is becoming a specialty in it's own right, with many places looking to hire double-boarded Cardiology/Intensive Care attendings to care for their post-op kids, and the PICU becoming a separate PICU/CVICU at some places.

Our institution is transitioning right now, and the residents are going to start taking care of post-op kids this winter, but over the past 5 years the residents have not taken care of CT surg patients. Despite this, last year we matched 3 people into top cardiology programs and 5 people into top PICU programs, each resident getting their #1 or #2 choice.

What IS important is to make sure your residency training makes you a good pediatrician first, then get your training as a cardiologist in fellowship, that way you will have a great understanding of the multiple other disorders cardiac patients present with. So I wouldnt base your residency decision on this by itself; although, like I said earlier, it's a nice bonus if you can get involved.

Feel free to email me more specific questions about this, or specifics about specific institutions.

Good luck!
 

oldbearprofessor

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I agree with everything that Crazy had to say, but would add that critical care experience, both NICU and PICU are mandatory parts of all pediatric residencies. So, folks interested in pedi cards including preop hearts can look at these rotations and see if they appear strong. Some programs pre-op hearts in the NICU with primary resident management and others do not.

Also, even if residents are not in the CVICU, a program in which the cardiology attendings are involved in mentoring and teaching residents in other settings would be a plus.

I realize that it can be hard to sort these issues out on interview trips, but at least it gives you some basis for evaluating programs.
 
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