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American Heart Association Journal Report: Surgical Residents Perform Heart Surgery as Effectively as Staff Surgeons
Date:9/30/2008

Study highlights:

* Success rates, safety and long-term outcomes of heart surgery are not significantly different when performed by properly supervised surgical residents or staff surgeons.

* It is safe to include the training of residents even in complex procedures. It is critical that trainees operate because they will to be the surgeons operating on the next generation, researchers said.

* The study was conducted between 1998-2005 at the Maritime Heart Center in Halifax, Canada.

DALLAS, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Clinical success rates and safety are similar between surgical residents and staff surgeons performing heart surgery, according to a new long-term study reported in the Cardiovascular Surgery Supplement of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In the study, surgical residents and staff surgeons performed two common heart operations -- coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) and aortic valve replacement (AVR) -- or combined CABG and AVR. A surgical resident is a physician receiving specialized clinical training in the art and science of surgery in a hospital, usually after completing an internship.

In CABG, the surgeon reroutes, or "bypasses," blood around clogged arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart. Heart valves regulate the flow of blood inside the heart. During these types of heart operations, the patient is usually connected to a heart-lung machine that supplies blood to the brain and body. The bad valve is removed and replaced.

The study found operations performed by properly supervised residents were as safe as those performed by staff surgeons. The analysis focused on 5,703 staff surgeon-performed cases and 1,011 resident-performed cases from 1998 to 2005 involving seven staff surgeons and six residents at the Maritime Heart Center in Halifax, Canada.

"There doesn't appear to be any significant difference in the long-term outcome comparing cas
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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