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Howard G. Smith, M.D. is a former radio medical editor and talk show host in the Boston Metro area.  His "Medical Minute" of health and wellness news and commentary was a regular weekday feature on WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, and WMRE-AM.   His popular two-way talk show, Dr. Howard Smith OnCall, was regularly heard Sunday morning and middays on WBZ.

Trained at Harvard Medical School and a long-time faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital, he practiced Pediatric Otolaryngology for 40 years in Boston, Southern California, and in central Connecticut.

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Please note that the news, views, commentary, and opinions that Dr. Smith provides are for informational purposes only.  Any changes that you or members of your family contemplate making to lifestyle, diet, medications, or medical therapy should always be discussed beforehand with personal physicians who have been supervising your care.

Aug 8, 2019



If you’re told that you must have cardiac surgery during the summer when the fresh crop of training doctors hit the hospital, you can go to the operating room with confidence that you are safe.  A study from Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that the complication rates for the most common heart procedures were no higher July through September than April though June.


The study reviewed data from more than 470,000 procedures including coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), aortic and mitral valve replacements, and thoracic aortic reconstructions.  There were no differences in complications, mortality, costs, or lengths of stay for those patients treated during the first or the fourth quarter of the med school academic year.


It is reassuring that, for critical cardiac surgery, safety nets are in place to assure uniformly high quality outcomes.  I would add, though, if you are having cardiac or any surgery, do your best to have it at institutions with the most experience, the highest clinical volumes, and the best track records.  You can find that data online.


Rohan M. Shah, Sameer A. Hirji, Spencer Kiehm, Shivangi Goel, Farhang Yazdchi, Andrea Bellavia, Cheryl K. Zogg, Marc P. Pelletier, Prem Shekar, Tsuyoshi Kaneko. Debunking the July Effect in Cardiac Surgery: A National Analysis of More Than 470,000 Procedures. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2019.06.015


#Cardiacsurgery #julyeffect #outcomes #surgicaltraining