Heart surgeons with less experience have worse valve surgery outcomes, study finds

Early-career cardiac surgeons with less than 10 years of experience had worse patient outcomes for valve procedures than those with more than 10 years of clinical practice, according to a Nov. 3 study published in JAMA Network Open. 

Using data from the New York State Cardiac Data Reporting System, researchers analyzed coronary artery bypass grafting and valve procedure outcomes across 38 cardiac surgery centers in the state between 2014 and 2016. Participating surgeons included 120 who performed CABG and 112 who completed valve procedures for 39,436 and 18,596 patients, respectively. Data was analyzed in April 2020. 

Surgeons with less than 10 years of practice had a higher median risk-adjusted mortality rate of 4.0 for valve procedures compared to 2.8 for those with more than 10 years of experience. 

Researchers did not find a statistically significant difference in risk for CABG procedures between those performed by surgeons with more or less experience, suggesting that additional valve surgery training is needed in residency programs and that CABGs are adequately addressed. 

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