Program Structure

At the completion of the program, fellows will demonstrate proficiency in all clinical aspects of congenital cardiac surgery and will have extensive experience and training in education and clinical research.

The one-year fellowship program provides for progressive responsibility and a balanced exposure to neonatal, infant, child and adult congenital heart surgery. The philosophy of the training program is predicated on mentorship in all aspects of patient care, including clinical consultations, operative instruction and postoperative patient management.

One of the most important features of the training program is the opportunity for exposure to a wide variety of complex congenital heart surgery and truly innovative techniques developed by our staff. The goal of the training program is the development of the complete academic congenital cardiac surgeon, competitive for all professional opportunities at the Assistant Professor level, with no requirement for additional training.

Clinical Experience

Duke University Hospital is the primary training site for Congenital Cardiac Surgery Fellowship Program. The hospital is a large tertiary-care referral facility with a robust congenital service staffed with three congenital surgeons, a fully staffed, dedicated pediatric cardiac intensive care unit, and 18 specialists encompassing all aspects of pediatric cardiology. The nationally accredited adult congenital heart disease program (center of excellence) benefits from a close relationship (both in proximity and collaboration) with adult cardiac surgery and cardiology.

Duke University Hospital is also the primary training site for the affiliated thoracic surgery residencies, and the main teaching site for nearly all of the GME programs for the Duke University Health System. All of the necessary subspecialty support services are also integral to the multidisciplinary team- including general pediatrics, pediatric anesthesia, adult cardiothoracic surgery, radiology, and interventional cardiology. All of the congenital cardiac operations are performed at this institution out of two dedicated operating rooms.

Surgical Experience

Each fellow will have a minimum of 75 major congenital cardiac surgery procedures as primary surgeon, although we fully expect the trainee to greatly exceed this number. In addition to the index pediatric and neonatal cases, adult congenital and mechanical circulatory support and transplantation operative experiences are also emphasized. Operative progression is graduated.

Educational Curriculum

Duke Congenital Cardiac Surgery Fellowship follows the TSDA Weekly Advanced Congenital Curricula Schedule. This is a one-year curriculum housed in the STS learning center. 

Teaching rounds take place with faculty weekdays at 7:15-7:45 a.m. in our 37-bed, dedicated pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (PCICU). Echo review, fetal case conference, grand rounds, M&M, multidisciplinary case conference, game plan review, single ventricular program conference, and pediatric transplant conferences also occur on a weekly or monthly basis.


Fellows undergo quarterly evaluation according to competency in the following areas: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and system-based practice. Milestones, case logs, surgical results and outcomes are also reviewed to ensure progress in obtaining the required surgical experiences and developing all required proficiencies. Overall clinical competence is gauged as well as potential areas for ongoing improvement. Clinical competency committee results are reviewed with the fellow. Finally, board eligibility is determined near completion of the fellowship year.

Nurse and staff, patient, and peer evaluation forms take place on a quarterly basis and are reviewed with the fellow.

Fellows review the faculty and program in an ongoing effort toward continuous improvement.