Comparison of Patient Outcomes Among Integrated Residency Versus Fellowship-Trained Vascular Surgeons.
This study aims to evaluate whether graduates of integrated vascular surgery residency (IVSR) programs achieve similar surgical outcomes in clinical practice as compared to graduates of vascular surgery fellowships (VSF).Early sub-specialization through IVSR programs decreases the total years of surgical training. However, it is unclear whether IVSR graduates achieve comparable outcomes to fellowship-trained surgeons once in clinical practice.We identified all vascular surgeons who finished IVSR and VSF programs between 2013-2017 using American Board of Surgery data, which was linked to the Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI) registry (2013-2019) to evaluate provider-specific clinical outcomes following carotid, lower extremity, and aortic aneurysm repair procedures. The association between training models and the composite outcome of 1-year mortality, major adverse cardiac events and/or other major complications were analyzed using mixed-effects logistic regression models.A total of 338 surgeons (31% IVSR, 69% VSF) submitted cases into the VQI registry, including 8,155 carotid, 21,428 lower extremity, and 5,800 aortic aneurysm repair procedures. Composite 1-year outcome rates were comparable between IVSR and VSF-trained surgeons following carotid endarterectomy (8%-IVSR vs. 7%-VSF), lower extremity revascularization (19%-IVSR vs. 16%-VSF), and aortic aneurysm repair (13%-IVSR vs. 13%-VSF) procedures. These findings among IVSR-trained surgeons persisted following risk adjustment for severity of patient disease and indications for undertaking carotid [aOR:1.04 (0.84-1.28)], lower extremity [aOR:1.03 (0.84-1.26)], and aortic [aOR:0.96 (0.76-1.21)] procedures when compared to VSF-trained surgeons.Despite fewer total years of training, graduates of IVSR programs achieve equivalent surgical outcomes as fellowship-trained vascular surgeons once in practice. These results suggest that concerns about differential competence among integrated residency graduates are not warranted.