Perspectives in Training and Professional Practice of Cardiac Surgery in Latin America
ABSTRACT Introduction: There is a lack of information about cardiac surgery training and professional practice in Latin American (LATAM) countries. This study is the first comparative analysis of cardiac surgical training and professional practice across LATAM and provides the fundamentals for future academic projects of the Latin American Association of Cardiac and Endovascular Surgery (LACES). Methods: International survey-based comparative analysis of the training and professional practice of cardiac surgeons across LATAM. Trainees (residents/fellows) and staf (graduated) surgeons from LATAM countries were included. Results: A total of 289 respondents (staf surgeons N=221 [76.5%]; residents/fellows N=68 [23.5%]) from 18 different countries participated in the survey. Most surgeons (N=92 [45.3%]) reported being unsatisfied with their salaries. Most respondents (N=181 [62.6%]) stated that it was difficult to obtain a leadership position, and 149 (73.8%) stated that it was difficult to find a job after completing training. Only half of the trainee respondents (N=32 [47.1%]) reported that their program had all resident spots occupied. Only 22.1% (N=15) of residents/fellows were satisfied with their training programs. The majority (N=205 [70.9%]) of respondents would choose cardiac surgery as their specialty again. Most surgeons (N=129 [63.9%]) and residents/fellows (N=52 [76.5%]) indicated that the establishment of a LATAM cardiac surgery board examination would be beneficial. Conclusion: Modernization and standardization of training, as well as greater access to opportunities, may be required in LATAM to increase professional satisfaction of cardiac surgeons and to reduce disparities in the specialty. Such changes may enhance the regional response to the dynamic challenges in the feld.