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Enough Transplant Surgeons Likely Being Trained

Some fellowship directors say too many being trained as abdominal organ transplant surgeons

FRIDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- Sufficient numbers of fellows, some say more than enough, are being trained to meet the foreseeable demand for abdominal organ transplant surgeons, according to research published in the February issue of the American Journal of Transplantation.

David J. Reich, M.D., of the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues surveyed fellowship directors and program graduates from 64 American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS)-approved programs, representing 139 fellowships in kidney, pancreas, and/or liver transplantation, to assess whether the number of abdominal organ transplant surgeons being trained in the United States is appropriate.

The researchers found that 45 fellows graduated each year: 12 percent did not find transplant jobs, 14 percent did not find jobs involving transplantation of their preferred organ, and 11 percent indicated regret that they had not focused more on transplantation. Twenty-seven percent changed jobs early. Fellows reported that they received adequate exposure to training volume, candidate selection, pre/postoperative care, and organ procurement, but not to donor management/selection, outpatient care, and core didactics. The authors write that there seem to be enough trainees to fill entry-level positions. In addition, a third of program directors said there are too many trainees.

"It seems unlikely that there will be a shortage of abdominal organ transplant surgeons in the near future, and the market may be in danger of becoming saturated. The ASTS Ad Hoc Committee on Workforce has embarked on a detailed assessment of the current national work force of transplant surgeons, work force attrition rates, evolving manpower needs, and the postfellowship job market," the authors write.

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