Vascular surgery training trends from 2001-2007: A substantial increase in total procedure volume is driven by escalating endovascular procedure volume and stable open procedure volume

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Surgery

Publication Date


Document Type



Aortic Diseases; Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation; Certification; *Clinical Competence; Curriculum; Education, Medical, Graduate; Endarterectomy, Carotid; Humans; Internship and Residency; Lower Extremity; Peripheral Vascular Diseases; Program Evaluation; Time Factors; United States; Vascular Surgical Procedures; *Workload




BACKGROUND: Endovascular procedure volume has increased rapidly, and endovascular procedures have become the initial treatment option for many vascular diseases. Consequently, training in endovascular procedures has become an essential component of vascular surgery training. We hypothesized that, due to this paradigm shift, open surgical case volume may have declined, thereby jeopardizing training and technical skill acquisition in open procedures.

METHODS: Vascular surgery trainees are required to log both open and endovascular procedures with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). We analyzed the ACGME database (2001-2007), which records all cases (by Current Procedural Terminology [CPT] code) performed by graduating vascular trainees. Case volume was evaluated according to the mean number of cases performed per graduating trainee.

RESULTS: The mean number of total major vascular procedures performed per trainee increased by 174% between 2001 and 2007 (from 298.3 to 519.2). Endovascular diagnostic and therapeutic procedures increased by 422% (from 63.7 to 269.1) and accounted for 93.0% of the increase in total procedures. The number of open aortic procedures (aneurysm, occlusive, mesenteric, renal) decreased by 17.1% (from 49.7 to 41.2), while the number of endovascular aortic aneurysm repair procedures increased by 298.8% (from 16.9 to 50.5). Specifically, open aortic aneurysm procedures decreased by 21.8%, aortobifemoral bypass increased by 3.2%, and open mesenteric or renal procedures decreased by 13%. Infrainguinal bypass procedures remained relatively constant (from 37.6 to 36.5, 2.9% decrease), and the number of carotid endarterectomy procedures performed did not change significantly (from 43.6 to 42.2, 3.2% decrease).

CONCLUSION: Vascular surgery trainees are performing a vastly increased total number of procedures. This increase in total procedure volume is almost entirely attributable to the recent increase in endovascular procedures. Aside from a small decline in open aortic procedures, the volume of open surgical procedures has largely remained stable. It is essential that vascular surgery training programs continue to focus on both endovascular and open surgical skills in order for vascular surgeons to remain the premier specialists to care for patients with vascular disease.

DOI of Published Version



J Vasc Surg. 2009 May;49(5):1339-44. Epub 2009 Feb 14. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of vascular surgery : official publication, the Society for Vascular Surgery [and] International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, North American Chapter

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID