Adult congenital heart disease training in Europe: current status, disparities and potential solutions

Colin J. McMahon*, Inga Voges, Petra Jenkins, Margarita Brida, Annemien E. van der Bosch, Mikael Dellborg, Ruth Heying, Jörg I. Stein, Borislav Georgiev, Senka Mesihovic-Dinarevic, Katja Prokšelj, Gylfi Oskarsson, Alexandra Frogoudaki, Tevfik Karagöz, Antonis Jossif, Gabriela Doros, Dorte Nielsen, Mikko Jalanko, Inmaculada Sanchez Perez, Sílvia AlvaresMette Elise Estensen, Andreas Petropoulos, Raili Tagen, Lina Gumbienė, Ina Michel-Behnke, Peter Olejnik, Paul F. Clift, Skaiste Sendzikaite, Dimpna C. Albert-Brotons, Mark Rhodes, Olli Pitkänen, Pier Paolo Bassareo, Michael A. Gatzoulis, Kevin Walsh, Ornella Milanesi, Magalie Ladouceur, Massimo Chessa, Werner Budts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Objectives This study aimed to determine the status of training of adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) cardiologists in Europe. Methods A questionnaire was sent to ACHD cardiologists from 34 European countries. Results Representatives from 31 of 34 countries (91%) responded. ACHD cardiology was recognised by the respective ministry of Health in two countries (7%) as a subspecialty. Two countries (7%) have formally recognised ACHD training programmes, 15 (48%) have informal (neither accredited nor certified) training and 14 (45%) have very limited or no programme. Twenty-five countries (81%) described training ACHD doctors 'on the job'. The median number of ACHD centres per country was 4 (range 0-28), median number of ACHD surgical centres was 3 (0-26) and the median number of ACHD training centres was 2 (range 0-28). An established exit examination in ACHD was conducted in only one country (3%) and formal certification provided by two countries (7%). ACHD cardiologist number versus gross domestic product Pearson correlation coefficient=0.789 (p<0.001). Conclusion Formal or accredited training in ACHD is rare among European countries. Many countries have very limited or no training and resort to 'train people on the job'. Few countries provide either an exit examination or certification. Efforts to harmonise training and establish standards in exit examination and certification may improve training and consequently promote the alignment of high-quality patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere002558
JournalOpen Heart
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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