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Cadaver Simulation is Associated with Increased Comfort in Performing Open Vascular Surgery Among Integrated Vascular Surgery (0+5) Residents and Recent Graduates

      Background

      With the evolution in vascular surgery toward increased endovascular therapy and decreased open surgical training, comfort with open procedures by current trainees is declining. A proposed method to improve this discomfort is simulator training. We hypothesized that open, cadaver, and endovascular surgery simulation would be associated with increased self-perceived comfort in performing corresponding procedures.

      Methods

      Integrated (0 + 5) vascular surgery residents and recent graduates in the United States were asked to complete a survey quantifying comfort via a Likert scale with procedures and experience with simulation training. Simulation groups were then matched using coarsened exact matching. Ordinal logistic regression assessed the association between simulation experience and comfort in performing procedures.

      Results

      Surveys were completed by 68 trainees and 20 attending surgeons in their first 5 years of practice. On unmatched analyses, there were no significant differences in comfort in performing any open or endovascular aorto-mesenteric or peripheral vascular procedures between respondents who reported experience with open or endovascular simulation, respectively. However, respondents who reported cadaver simulation experience (58%, 51/88) had a significantly higher reported comfort score performing open juxtarenal aortic repair (2.4 vs. 1.7), superior mesenteric artery thrombectomy or bypass (2.5 vs. 1.9), inferior vena cava or iliac vein repair (2.2 vs. 1.7), axillary-femoral artery bypass (3.4 vs. 2.5), femoral-popliteal artery bypass (3.7 vs. 2.8), and inframalleolar artery bypass (2.8 vs. 2.1; all P < 0.05). After matching on training level, number of abdominal cases completed, and number of open vascular cases completed, ordinal logistic regression demonstrated that previous cadaver simulation was significantly associated with increased comfort in performing open aortic repairs, venous repair, visceral revascularization, and peripheral bypasses.

      Conclusions

      In this nationally representative sample, cadaver, but not open or endovascular, simulation was associated with increased comfort in performing open vascular surgery. Providing cadaver simulation to trainees may help to improve comfort levels in performing open surgery. Integrated vascular surgery training programs should consider implementing these experiences into their curriculum.
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