Educational resources for vascular laboratory education in vascular surgery residencies and fellowships: Survey of Vascular Surgery Program Directors

Adam Tanious, James D. Brooks, Linda J. Wang, Murray L. Shames, Paul A. Armstrong, Mark F. Conrad, David L Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: The Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) credential is a prerequisite for certification by the Vascular Surgery Board of the American Board of Surgery. Of concern, as more current trainees and recent program graduates take the Physician Vascular Interpretation (PVI) examination, vascular surgery trainee pass rates have decreased. Residents and fellows have a lower PVI examination pass rates than practicing vascular surgeons. The purpose of this study was to assess current vascular laboratory (VL) training for vascular surgery residents and fellows and to identify gaps that residency and fellowship programs might address. Methods: Program directors (PDs) of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited vascular surgery programs (107 fellowships, 53 integrated residency programs) were surveyed using a web-based tool. Responses were submitted anonymously. Data collected included information about the program, the PD, accreditation status of the VL, and the curriculum used to meet the PVI prerequisites. Concurrent data (June 2017) on the credentials of all PDs were obtained from the Alliance for Physician Certification and Advancement (APCA). Results: Sixty-one of 117 PDs participated in the survey (52% response rate). Of these, 44 individuals (72% of responders) reported they held the RPVI and/or Registered Vascular Technologist credential. Records from APCA indicated that 51 of 117 PDs of accredited vascular surgery residencies and fellowships (44%) had an RPVI/Registered Vascular Technologist credential. Ninety-four percent reported that their VL was accredited. Practical VL experience for trainees was reported to be 20 hours or less by 62% of respondents. The use of a structured curriculum for practical experience was reported by only 15 programs. Programs with fellowships established for more than 10 years were more likely to have a structured program for didactic instruction (P =.03). Only 23 programs reported a dedicated VL rotation. Didactic instruction provided was 20 hours or less for 75% of the cohort. Conclusions: In the absence of a standardized VL curriculum, there is variation in the VL instruction provided to trainees. Fellowship programs with longer histories have more structured instruction, but time allocated to VL education is substantially less than the 30 hours of didactic and 40 hours of practical experience recommended by the APCA. Programs and learners may benefit from the development of VL training guidelines and curriculum resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • Resident education
  • RPVI
  • Ultrasound
  • Vascular laboratory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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