State of Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging Training

Study Questions:

What is the state of advanced cardiovascular imaging training in the United States?

Methods:

An online survey was created to identify and characterize advanced cardiovascular imaging training programs at US academic training institutions. The survey was administered in October 2014 to all 191 program directors of accredited adult general cardiology fellowships.

Results:

A total of 82 academic institutions responded (43% survey response rate), including large universities, smaller universities, and community hospitals. Among responding institutions, 47 (57%) do not currently offer advanced cardiovascular imaging training. Among these institutions, 40 (85%) cited insufficient funding, 14 (30%) insufficient faculty, and 15 (32%) insufficient case volume as a reason for the lack of a training program. The 35 responding institutions currently offering advanced cardiovascular imaging training are all large universities. Among 45 identified training pathways, 65-70 new trainees are accepted annually. Pathway duration varies from 1 year (56%) to 2 years (31%), with the remaining 13% flexible between 1-2 years. Teaching faculty include both cardiologists and radiologists (n = 30 [67%]), or only cardiologists (n = 15 [33%]). A large majority of pathways (84%) accept external candidates, among which a minority (37%) accept graduates from foreign cardiology fellowship programs.

Conclusions:

The authors concluded that: a) a minority of large universities currently offer advanced cardiovascular imaging training, and b) among institutions that provide advanced cardiovascular imaging training, marked differences exist in the duration of training and modalities offered.

Perspective:

There is no standardization for advanced cardiovascular imaging training among cardiovascular medicine training programs. Although societal attention to advanced cardiovascular imaging training could result in a new board-certified subspecialty, it is currently unknown whether and how advanced cardiovascular imaging experts add measurable value to clinical, research, and educational programs.

Clinical Topics: Noninvasive Imaging

Keywords: Academic Medical Centers, Certification, Diagnostic Imaging, Fellowships and Scholarships, Radiation


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