Trends in operative case volumes of Canadian vascular surgery trainees

Musaad AlHamzah, Mohamad A. Hussain, Elisa Greco, Abdelrahman Zamzam, Jean Jacob-Brassard, Mark Wheatcroft, Thomas L. Forbes, Mohammed Al-Omran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Vascular surgery has evolved with increasing use of endovascular therapies and a decline in open surgery. The influence of these changes, in addition to a new vascular surgery training program introduced in 2012, on case volumes of vascular trainees is not known. We sought to evaluate trends in operative case volumes of Canadian vascular surgery trainees. Methods: A survey was administered to graduates of the Canadian Royal College-accredited Vascular Fellowships (VFs) and Integrated Vascular Surgery Residency (IVSR) programs (2007-2019) to record cases performed during their final 2 years of training. Procedures of interest were open abdominal aortic aneurysm (oAAA) repair, open thoracic/thoracoabdominal aortic (oTAA/TAAA) repair, lower extremity bypass (LEB), carotid endarterectomy (CEA), lower extremity endovascular intervention (LEEI), and endovascular abdominal, advanced, and thoracic aortic repair (EVAR, aEVAR, and TEVAR). Case volumes were analyzed overall, and by graduation year, type of training program, and resident demographics. Results: A total of 60 participants (10% female) from all the 10 Canadian training institutions responded (response rate, 63%). There was a declining trend in overall procedures performed since the introduction of IVSR in 2012 (median, 427 [interquartile range (IQR), 304-496] in 2007-2012 vs median, 342 [IQR, 279-405] in 2013-2019; P = .055), driven by a significant decline in open vascular surgery cases (median, 273 [IQR, 221-339] in 2007-2012 vs median, 156 [IQR, 128-181] in 2013-2019; P = .001). Case volumes of oAAA, LEB, and CEA declined by 44%, 40%, and 45%, respectively. Compared with vascular fellows, IVSR residents logged ∼2.5 times more aEVARs (median, 8; IQR, 2-11 vs median, 19; IQR, 8-27; P = .001) and ∼1.5 times more LEEIs (median, 60; IQR, 40-99 vs median, 93; IQR, 69-120; P = .018). Trainees were most confident (range, 90%-100%) in performing oAAA, EVAR, LEB, LEEI, and CEA after training, and least confident in performing oTAA/TAAA and aEVAR (20% and 49% confidence, respectively). Conclusions: Operative case volumes of Canadian vascular surgery trainees since the introduction of IVSR program in 2012 have decreased, driven by declining exposure to open cases. However, trainees continue to receive adequate operative exposure to perform most standard vascular procedures confidently upon graduation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-694.e3
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Education
  • Training
  • Vascular surgery


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