General surgeons getting less vascular training

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Vascular surgery fellow case logs reflect an increase in endovascular interventions, but general surgery residents may be missing out on training opportunities, according to a study of national case data.

In addition, general surgery residents saw a decrease in open vascular surgery cases, which was not reflected among the vascular surgery fellows, according to Dr. Rose C. Pedersen and colleagues in the department of surgery, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. The report was published online in Annals of Vascular Surgery (doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2016.02.008).

The paper was originally presented at the 2105 annual meeting of the Southern California Vascular Society. The study reports findings of a review of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education national case log reports from 2001 to 2012.

During that period, the number of general surgery residents increased from 1,021 to 1,098, while the number of vascular surgery fellows increased from 96 to 121. The total number of vascular cases logged by the vascular fellows significantly increased by 161%, from an average of 298 cases to 762 cases over the time period assessed. During that same period, vascular cases done by general surgery residents significantly decreased by 40%, from an average of 186 to 116 cases.

In terms of open cases. vascular fellows saw a significant 43% decrease in open abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) cases, going from 26 to 15, and a slight but significant increase in carotid endarterectomy cases logged (44 to 49). Hemodialysis access and major amputations also both increased significantly. A decreases in open surgery for peripheral obstructive disease was small and not significant.

General surgery residents saw decreases in all open surgery areas over the time period: AAA cases fell significantly by 78% (9 cases to 2 cases); carotid endarterectomies decreased significantly from 23 to 12 cases; and surgery for peripheral obstructive disease fell significantly from 21 to 8). Hemodialysis access cases and major amputations both decreased as well, but not significantly.

Endovascular cases increased from 2001 to 2012 for both vascular fellows and general surgery residents. Vascular fellows saw endovascular AAA repair significantly increase from an average of 17 to 46 cases, while those for general surgery residents rosed from roughly 1 to 3 cases. Similarly, endovascular interventions for peripheral obstructive disease significantly increased for vascular fellows from 17 to 85, and from 1.3 to 4 for general surgery residents.

“The contemporary management of abdominal aortic aneurysmal diseases and peripheral obstructive diseases has been particularly changed by endovascular therapies that have been adopted into the training experience of vascular surgery fellows, but not those of general surgery residents. Open surgery experience has decreased overall for general surgery residents in all major categories, a change not seen in vascular fellows,” the researchers concluded.

The authors reported no relevant disclosures.

mlesney@frontlinemedcom.com

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