Background: Peripheral arterial occlusive disease constitutes a substantial portion of clinical practice in vascular surgery and, as such, trainees must graduate with proficiency in endovascular and open procedures to become capable vascular surgeons. Case volume for 0+5 integrated vascular surgery residents in the chief and junior years was compared with their 5+2 fellowship counterparts for the treatment of peripheral arterial occlusive disease. Methods: In this retrospective review, operative volume for peripheral arterial occlusive disease cases in both vascular training paradigms was evaluated. “Surgeon chief” cases in the final year of residency training, and “surgeon junior” cases for postgraduate year 4 and below were gathered for the integrated vascular surgery residents group. Annual fellow's case volume was collected using cases logged as “surgeon fellow.” Procedures were divided by the following anatomic region and compared: aortoiliac, femoropopliteal, and infrapopliteal. Student's t tests were used to assess these differences. Results: An aggregate of 887 residents and fellows from 137 programs were identified. Vascular surgery fellows consistently performed 1.7-fold (P <.001) and 1.6-fold (P <.001) more total peripheral cases than their integrated vascular surgery residents chief and junior counterparts, respectively. They also performed 1.8-fold (P =.002) and 1.5-fold (P =.004) more peripheral endovascular cases than their 0+5 chief and junior counterparts respectively. With respect to endovascular treatment of peripheral arterial occlusive disease by subgroup, we found the overall volume of aortoiliac and femoropopliteal increased, whereas infrapopliteal case volume decreased. Vascular surgery fellows were performing many more of these cases per year than the integrated vascular surgery residents chiefs and junior residents. When looking at 3 index open procedures, aortobifemoral bypass, femoropopliteal bypass with vein, and infrapopliteal bypass with vein in the academic year 2017–2018, the vascular surgery fellow trainees performed more cases than the integrated vascular surgery residents chief and junior residents. Conclusion: Earlier studies have compared the operative volume of vascular surgery fellows and integrated vascular surgery residents in their entire tenure of training. Our study specifically evaluated the years of training that confer the greatest level of autonomy. Vascular surgery fellows are performing more endovascular and open cases than their 0+5 counterparts for peripheral arterial occlusive disease during the final phase of training. These findings suggest that current suspected equipoise of vascular surgery training paradigms may not reflect what is occurring in practice and therefore warrants further investigation.
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