Mitchell EL, Arora S, Moneta GL, Kret MR, Dargon PT, Landry GJ, Eidt JF, and Sevdalis N. A systematic review of assessment of skill acquisition and operative competency in vascular surgical training. J Vasc Surg.2014 May;59(5):1440-55.Epub 2014 Mar 19.

PMID: 24655750


The aim of this systematic review is to describe the literature and assessment tools evaluating vascular surgical operative performance that could potentially be used for the assessment of educational outcomes applicable to the Milestone Project and the Next Accreditation System.

A systematic review of PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and key journals from 1985 to 2013 was performed to identify English-language articles describing assessment of vascular surgical skills and competence. Qualifying studies were abstracted for data concerning study aims, study and assessment setting, skills measured, and metrics used to determine competency. Strengths, weaknesses, and psychometric robustness of the assessment tools were determined.

The literature search identified 617 citations. After title and abstract review, 65 articles were retrieved for full-text assessment and 48 articles were included in the final review. Twenty-nine articles assessed open vascular skills; 19, endovascular skills; six, nontechnical skills; and one, teamwork skills. The majority (84%) of studies were performed in a simulated environment, four (8%) were performed in the operating room, and the remaining three were performed in both a simulated environment and an operating room. Strengths and weaknesses of assessment tools were study and assessor dependent, with none applicable to all study scenarios or procedures.

The literature describing assessment tools pertinent to vascular surgery is diverse. Existing assessment tools may be relevant to individual technical skill acquisition assessment; however, an operative assessment tool relevant to vascular/endovascular surgery and generalizable to the wide spectrum of technical and nontechnical skills pertinent to vascular surgery needs to be developed, validated, and implemented to allow the practical assessment of resident readiness to operate in an unsupervised setting.