Cardiovascular/Thoracic Surgery - Content Blueprint

Note: Because of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) publication, NCCPA will adapt its content blueprints, disease and disorder lists, and psychiatry-related terminology within test questions to conform to DSM-5 classifications and diagnostic criteria for all of our examinations beginning in 2015, according to the following timeline:

CAQ Examinations administered from August 2015 to July 2016:
In these examinations, psychiatry-related terminology within test questions will include the DSM-5 terminology followed by the DSM-IV-TR terminology in parentheses. Example: illness anxiety disorder (hypochondriasis) 

Based on delays in implementation of DSM-5 guidelines within the field of psychiatry, NCCPA will continue to present psychiatry-related terminology within test questions in the manner outlined above until further notice.

Didactic Knowledge (71%)

  • Anatomy and Physiology – Cardiac, Thoracic, Vascular
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Aortic Valve Disease
  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Tricuspid Valve Disease
  • Pulmonic Valve Disease
  • Heart Failure
  • Aortic Aneurysm – Ascending, Thoracic, Abdominal
  • Conductive Disorders
  • Congenital Heart Disease in Adults/Children
  • Hypertension
  • Esophageal Disease and Carcinoma
  • Lung Disease and Carcinoma
  • Trauma – Cardiac, Thoracic, Flail chest
  • Patient Presentation, Evaluation, and Testing
  • Operative Intervention and Outcomes
  • Preoperative Patient Management
  • Postoperative Patient Management
  • Principles of Invasive and Noninvasive Cardiovascular Imaging
  • Vascular Diseases
  • Principles of Endovascular Procedures
  • Principles in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pneumothorax – Spontaneous, Tension Hemopneumothorax
  • Principles of Ventilatory Management for the Cardiovascular Surgical Patient

Invasive Procedures – Clinical Skill Requirements (10%)

  • Central Venous Access/Swan-Ganz Catheterization
  • Arterial Line Placement
  • Chest Tube Placement/Thoracentesis
  • Intra-aortic Balloon Placement/Removal
  • Endotracheal Intubation
  • Principles of Cardiac Output Determinations

Principles of Operative Procedures (3%)

  • Principles of Open and Endoscopic Vein Harvesting Techniques
  • Description of Arterial Conduits and Patency Rates Available for Harvesting

Pharmacology (16%)


Cardiovascular/Thoracic Surgery - Disease/Disorder List

To view a list of some of the diseases and disorders that may appear on the Cardiovascular/Thoracic Surgery CAQ Examination, click here. Keep in mind that the list may not be all-inclusive of the topics covered on the exam.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the PDF file.