Operative Requirements

The operative requirements of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery have two parts. One is concerned with the surgical intensity or volume of cases and the other with the distribution of cases (index cases). The application of a candidate whose operative experience does not meet the surgical volume and/or case distribution may be sent to the Credentials Committee for review. 

Residents are expected to use the Operative Logs found on the ACGME's website to track their cases during their training.  If for some reason, a resident needs to provide additional case information to the Board, he/she should use the ABTS Tracking Form to manually track this information. 

Surgical Volume Requirements

The Board's operative experience requirements include an annual average of 125 major operations performed by each resident based on the following lengths of training programs:

     2-year programs: 125 major cardiothoracic cases in PGY 6-7 for a total of 250 cases;
     3-year programs: 125 major cardiothoracic cases in PGY 6-8 for a total of 375 cases;
     6-year programs:  125 major cardiothoracic cases in PGY 4-6 for a total of 375 cases;
     4/3 joint programs: 125 major cardiothoracic cases in PGY 6-7 for a total for 250 cases.

Index Case Requirements

The Board offers three operative pathways for residents; however, only one certificate is issued by the Board no matter what pathway is chosen.  Residents do not need to identify their pathway to the Board until the time of their application. Residents can choose either the Cardiothoracic, General Thoracic or the Cardiac Pathway; however, the residents must meet the operative numbers entirely from one pathway during the last years of their residency as outlined below:

     2-year programs - during PGY 6-7 
     3-year programs - during PGY 6-8
     6-year programs - during PGY 4-6
     4/3 joint programs - during PGY 4-7

Index cases are defined as the resident being the primary surgeon. They do not include first assistant cases, unless specifically stated.

Integrated Residency Junior Year Requirements

Residents in integrated 6-year programs have special requirements that they will need to meet during their training in their PGY 1-3 years. The requirements for their Junior Years can be found on the left-side navigational bar
FLS, ATLS, and ACLS Certification - Clarification
The Board requires FLS, ATLS, and ACLS certifications from some residents based on the start date of their thoracic surgery training. Click Here  to see if you need FLS, ATLS, and ACLS for ABTS Certification.
Additional Training

The Board's Credentials Committee may reject a candidate if his or her operative experience during the thoracic surgery residency is considered to be inadequate. The candidate, the Program Director, and the RRC-TS will be notified if such action is taken. If the Credentials Committee finds the applicant's operative experience inadequate and additional training is required, the additional training must be approved by the Board in advance. Should the program director determine that a resident needs additional training beyond the number of years that have been approved by the ACGME and the RRC-TS, before submitting an application for admission to the ABTS certification process, this additional training must also be approved by the Board in advance.