Background: Minimal information is available on the number and type of procedures being performed for structural and valvular heart disease, the physicians who perform these procedures, and on the training requirements for this emerging field.
Methods: Surveys were performed using an online survey of members of the Society of Cardiac Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), including its Council on Structural Heart Disease and the Congenital Heart Disease Committee. The responses of 107 US-based interventional cardiologists were analyzed. A second questionnaire of a purposive sample of 10 training directors of US interventional cardiology programs was also performed.
Results: Although many procedures (e.g., transseptal puncture, PFO, and ASD closure) are commonly performed by most respondents, others are limited to a significant minority of respondents (e.g., alcohol septal ablation, transcatheter valve repair, and implantation). In addition, the number of procedures performed varies greatly as does the training directors' estimate of the number necessary to gain proficiency. There is no single method being used to gain the requisite skills. A number of factors that limit the more widespread growth of this field were identified.
Conclusions: The field of intervention for structural and valvular heart disease is new, growing rapidly, and will require a core knowledge base and new didactic methods. The cardiovascular community will be challenged to devise new training standards and credentialing approaches to serve interventionalists interested in this field.
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.