Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
CARDIOTHORACIC SURGERY EDUCATION PROGRAM
The Cardiothoracic Surgery Educational Program at the Medical University of South Carolina consists of two programs:
The traditional MUSC Cardiothoracic Surgical Residency Program started in the early 1960’s and was changed to a three-year program in 1987. It has been continuously accredited by the Thoracic Surgery Residency Review Committee since its inception and received a five-year accreditation (with commendation) at the time of its last site visit in August, 2011.
In 2007, the MUSC faculty developed a six-year integrated CT residency program matching directly out of medical school. This was approved by the Thoracic Surgery Residency Review Committee in July 2008. The first six-year program resident began training July 1, 2009. Our program is proud to be one of the first three programs along with Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania to pioneer the six-year integrated program which could completely change cardiothoracic surgery education. The Integrated Cardiothoracic Surgery training program at MUSC was accredited for an unprecedented five years at the time of its Thoracic Surgery RRC Site Visit in August, 2011 and both programs were commended for “demonstrated substantial compliance with the ACGME’s Requirements for Graduate Medical Education.”
The rotation schedule for the first three years of the six-year program includes some traditional general surgery rotations with a six-month away rotation in the first half of the third year at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston. Rotations in related specialties (heart failure, imaging, echo, interventional radiology, etc.) throughout the first two years provide in depth exposure to these disciplines which relate closely to cardiothoracic surgery. Increasing exposure to cardiothoracic surgery itself will occur in each of the first three years. Rotations in the final three years are similar to the current independent program experience. Operative experience for traditional CT residents has always far exceeded ABTS requirements. The rotation schedule for the integrated program has been adjusted so that the new ABTS requirements can easily be met.
The overall CT residency program includes rotation at the new Ashley River Tower facility, MUSC Children’s Hospital, and the Ralph Johnson VA Hospital. Residents are based at Ashley River Tower where they have office space within the overall office space of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. This office space is contiguous to that of the Division of Adult Cardiology which also includes office space for cardiology fellows and for both cardiothoracic surgery and cardiology physician extenders. This office space includes two conference rooms and a small cardiothoracic library. Ashley River Tower has facilities for the complete care of the adult cardiothoracic and vascular patient including chest pain center, out-patient clinics, wards, ICUs, operating rooms, etc. This facility opened in February 2008 and is absolute state-of-the-art in every respect, but especially in the four cardiothoracic surgery operating rooms click here for virtual tour ) . A hybrid operating room with state-of-the-art imaging equipment for endovascular and other procedures is also available. Immediately next door to the Ashley River Tower is the Ralph Johnson VA Hospital which houses a very important component of the CT residency program. Both cardiac and general thoracic procedures are performed in that facility for veterans referred from throughout South Carolina. The MUSC Children’s Hospital is one block away and houses the congenital heart surgery component of the residency. Children with congenital heart disease in South Carolina are cared for through the South Carolina Children’s Heart Network, and any patients requiring surgery have it performed at MUSC Children’s Hospital.
The MUSC CT Surgery Residency Program has been fully compliant with the 80-hour-work-week since it was begun in July, 2003. In order to do this, residents and faculty are assisted by a large compliment of experienced physician extenders. These individuals alternate with general surgery PG-1 residents for in-house call on an alternating basis. Physician extenders also provide continuity of care for the wards and clinics, assist in the operating rooms, do admission workups, and thus relieve the residents from the majority of “nonessential” routine tasks. At the PG-2 level the general surgery resident assists in the CTICU and the operating room and rotate second call from home with the CT residents.
The residency program includes two major teaching conferences. The first is a Tuesday morning didactic session which follows closely the curriculum recommended by the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association. Conferences are given by CT attendings, CT residents, and invited guest speakers. Attendance is required for all faculty and CT Surgery residents. The second major conference is the Wednesday afternoon Service Conference at which all patients operated upon in the previous week are reviewed for deaths, complications, and interesting teaching points. A Cardiothoracic Journal Club is held monthly off campus at a local restaurant. Other teaching conferences are listed here. The immediate adjacency of Adult Cardiology and their fellows and the shared conference rooms also makes attendance at cardiology cath conference and grand rounds very convenient.
Cardiothoracic residents in the independent program and in the final three years of the integrated program are funded by the Division to attend one major CT meeting each year. In addition expenses are funded for any resident who has a paper accepted for presentation at a major meeting.
MUSC residents are recruited from all areas and parts of the United States. After completion of the residency, residents have entered both academic and private practice depending upon their interests. Residents since 1980 and their current location are listed here. All MUSC residents since 1980 have successfully completed part I and II of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery examination and are ABTS certified.
HOW TO APPLY & SELECTION
The Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina is a participating member of the National Resident Matching Program and accepts applications only through the ERAS system. All applicants are required to complete the universal application form available through the Electronic Residency Application Services of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and submit this along with a curriculum board scores (including ABSITE scores for the independent program applicants), three letters of reference, personal statement, a dean's letter, and medical school transcripts. All applicants must have successfully passed USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 exams (or the equivalent COMLEX Step 3 Exam or MCCQE Parts I and II).
Residents are selected on a fair and equal basis without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin or sexual orientation. Selection of applicants for both programs is based upon qualities such as publications, test scores, letters of recommendation, personal statement and upon how an applicant will fit into the department based upon interview. Of particular importance, especially for the integrated program, is dedication to and interest in cardiothoracic surgery. Interested medical students can optimize their chances of getting into the new integrated program by doing more than just their required clinical rotations by either spending time doing cardiothoracic-related research or more focused time in cardiothoracic surgery rotations. It is also strongly encouraged that applicants to the integrated program spend time in clinical rotations on Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina. Elective rotations are arranged through the College of Medicine Dean’s Office. For further information please refer to the link below: