A National Survey of Evolving Management Patterns for Vascular Injury

Gabriel E. Burkhardt, Todd E. Rasmussen*, Brandon W. Propper, Peter L. Lopez, Shaun M. Gifford, W. Darrin Clouse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: The modern era has witnessed an increase in endovascular techniques used by physicians to treat vascular injury and age-related disease. As a consequence, the number of open vascular operations available for general surgical education has decreased dramatically. This changing paradigm threatens competence in vascular injury management achieved during surgical residency. The objective of this study is to sample perceptions on vascular injury treatment in the United States to highlight the need for planning for this important tenant of surgical education. Methods: An electronic survey was extended to board-certified surgeons through 3 professional societies, the Peripheral Vascular Surgery Society (PVSS), the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST), and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Results: A total of 520 respondents were self-categorized as trauma (59%; n = 307), vascular (17%; n = 90), or general (19%; n = 99) surgeons. Respondents reported that general surgeons currently manage less than 10% of vascular injuries at their respective institutions. A 2.5-fold increase in endovascular treatment of vascular injury during the past decade was reported with interventional radiologists now involved in the management of up to 25% of injuries. Few general or trauma surgeons surveyed possessed a catheter-based skill set, although 38% of trauma surgeons expressed great interest in endovascular training. Additionally, a cadre of vascular surgeons (67%) affirmed a commitment to teaching vascular injury management. Conclusions: The results of this study confirm a diminished role for non-fellowship-trained surgeons in managing vascular injury. Despite an increased acceptance of endovascular techniques to manage trauma, general and trauma surgeons do not possess the skill set. Collaboration between surgical communities will be especially important to maintain high standards in vascular injury management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-247
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Patient Care
  • Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
  • Systems-Based Practice
  • endovascular techniques
  • vascular injury
  • vascular injury management
  • vascular trauma


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