The Saint Louis University Division of Cardiology enjoys a rich tradition in training future cardiologists.
For over 30 years, the faculty of the division has made it a priority to dedicate a significant amount of time and energy toward the cardiology fellowship program. We take great pride in our training program with an emphasis on clinical cardiology. Two training programs are currently offered — a three-year cardiovascular fellowship and a one-year interventional cardiology fellowship program.
SLU’s three-year cardiovascular fellowship training program recruits four new fellows per year. All four spots are routinely selected using the match process through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).
The program has maintained full Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accreditation without interruption with the last site visit in 2011.
Within the three-year fellowship program, our fellows are all eligible for American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) cardiovascular disease board certification. Many are also eligible for advanced certification in echocardiography through the National Board of Echocardiography and nuclear medicine through the Certification Board of Nuclear Cardiology.
The program focuses on inpatient training at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and the VA Saint Louis Health Care System - John Cochran Division. Outpatient experiences are also obtained at multiple sites with the St. Louis region.
Training takes place in two distinct phases. The first 24 months are dedicated to providing level I exposure to all elements of cardiology. The last 12 months are set aside to achieve level II procedural expertise in some focused areas of cardiology. The overall length of experiences is dictated by the American College of Cardiology Training Task Force COCATS document.
Specifically, the first two years include:
- Four months: Cardiac cath lab
- Seven months: Noninvasive imaging labs
- Nine months: Inpatient and consultation services
- Two months: Electrophysiology
There are prescribed research months in the first and second year of training. The exact structure of the third year is determined between the trainee and the program director based on specific needs for future practice. For example, trainees interested in pursuing interventional cardiology training may elect to perform more months of catheterization within the third year, while trainees who want to achieve a higher level of certification in echocardiography spend more time in the noninvasive laboratories.
Conferences and Teaching
The training program maintains a robust noon conference didactic program on an 8-12 month cycle that covers all basic and some advanced cardiovascular concepts relevant to all aspects of cardiology.
July and August are reserved for basic review of core concepts with lectures during that time principally given by the faculty. There is then a nine month period which includes one hour per week dedicated to electrophysiology, clinical case conferences, noninvasive imaging conferences and catheterization conferences.
There is also a journal club curriculum where the key aspects of scientific review of the medical literature are covered. Visiting professors frequently interact with the division and fellows to supplement the didactic educational program.
The program uses the American College of Cardiology In-Training Examination administered every fall to monitor trainees’ knowledge base and target areas of weakness, programmatic and individual standpoint.
All fellows are expected to participate in clinical research throughout their three years. We currently have multiple ongoing multicenter clinical trials which allow fellows to receive valuable experience in patient recruitment and upcoming therapies not yet available.
Individual clinical research projects are also ongoing in the cath lab, electrophysiology, and heart failure that provide trainees with the opportunity to be successful in designing, conducting, analyzing and presenting a research project. Fellows are encouraged to submit their research for potential presentation at national and regional meetings.
Interventional Cardiology Fellowship
The one-year interventional cardiology fellowship program at Saint Louis University School of Medicine is for physicians who have already completed internal medicine and general cardiology training. Requirements include board certification in internal medicine and completion of at least three years of training in a cardiology fellowship, including certification for cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography.
One fellow is accepted each academic year. The fellow’s responsibilities include evaluation and care of patients referred for cardiac catheterization and undergoing interventional procedures and performance of those procedures with the attending interventional cardiologists.
Fellows are involved in more than 350 procedures, including coronary intervention, structural heart disease and peripheral interventions. They also participate in ongoing clinical trials in the cardiac catheterization labs and perform a research project for publication.
Affiliated hospitals include SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and VA Saint Louis Health Care System - John Cochran Division. Upon completion of the training, our fellows will be qualified to perform coronary and peripheral interventions and be board eligible for the American Board of Internal Medicine, Interventional Cardiology certifying examination.