Saxena A, Virk SA, Bowman SRA, Jeremy R, Bannon PG

Heart Lung Circ 2018 Apr;27(4):420-426

PMID: 29103675


BACKGROUND: Cardiac surgical units must balance trainee education with the duty to provide optimal patient care. This is particularly challenging with valvular surgery, given the lower volume and increased complexity of these procedures. The present meta-analysis was conducted to assess the impact of trainee operator status on clinical outcomes following valvular surgery.

METHODS: Medline, Embase and CENTRAL databases were systematically searched for studies reporting clinical outcomes according to the training status of the primary operator (consultant or trainee). Data were extracted and meta-analysed according to pre-defined endpoints.

RESULTS: Eleven observational studies met the inclusion criteria, reporting on five patient cohorts undergoing mitral valve surgery (n=3975), six undergoing aortic valve replacement (AVR) (n=6236) and three undergoing combined AVR and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) (n=3495). Perioperative mortality was not significantly different between trainee and consultant cases for mitral valve surgery (odds ratio [OR] 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62-1.37), AVR (OR 0.67; 95% CI, 0.37-1.24), or combined AVR and CABG (OR 1.07; 95% CI, 0.40-2.85). The incidences of perioperative stroke, myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, acute renal failure, reoperation or wound infection were not significantly different between trainee and consultant cases. There was a paucity of mid-term survival data.

CONCLUSIONS: Valvular surgery cases performed primarily by trainees were not associated with adverse perioperative outcomes. These findings suggest the rigorous design of cardiac surgical trainee programs can sufficiently mitigate trainee deficiencies. However, studies with longer follow-up duration and echocardiographic data are required to assess long-term durability and safety.