The US could face a severe shortage of cardiothoracic surgeons in the next 15 years, according to a new study.

The Center for Workforce Studies at the Association of American Medical Colleges study found that by 2025 the demand for cardiothoracic surgeons could increase by 46% but the number of available surgeons is expected to decrease by at least 21%.

The study revealed that the number of active cardiothoracic surgeons in the US has dropped for the first time in 20 years, which could affect the quality of care and delay appropriate care.