The latest medical research on Vascular Surgery

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Association of Demographic and Program Factors With American Board of Surgery Qualifying and Certifying Examinations Pass Rates.

JAMA Surgery

American Board of Surgery board certification requires passing both a written qualifying examination and an oral certifying examination. No studies have been conducted assessing the effect of sociodemographic variables on board passage rates.

To evaluate if trainee sociodemographic factors are associated with board passage rates.

This national and multi-institutional prospective observational cohort study of 1048 categorical general surgery trainees starting in 2007-2008 were surveyed. Data collection began in June 2007, follow-up was completed on December 31, 2016, and analysis began September 2018.

Survey responses were linked to American Board of Surgery board passage data.

Of 662 examinees who had complete survey and follow-up data, 443 (65%) were men and 459 (69%) were white, with an overall board passage rate of 87% (n = 578). In a multinomial regression model, trainees of Hispanic ethnicity were more likely to not attempt the examinations (vs passed both) than non-Hispanic trainees (odds ratio [OR], 4.7; 95% CI, 1.5-14). Compared with examinees who were married with children during internship, examinees who were married without children (OR, 0.3; 95% CI, 0.1-0.8) or were single (OR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.2-0.9) were less likely to fail the examinations. Logistic regression showed white examinees compared with nonwhite examinees (black individuals, Asian individuals, and individuals of other races) (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.03-3.0) and examinees who performed better on their first American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination (OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.02-1.05) were more likely to pass the qualifying examination on the first try. White examinees compared with nonwhite examinees (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-2.8), non-Hispanic compared with Hispanic examinees (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.2-4.7), and single women compared with women who were married with children during internship (OR, 10.3; 95% CI, 2.1-51) were more likely to pass the certifying examination on the first try.

Resident race, ethnicity, sex, and family status at internship were observed to be associated with board passage rates. There are multiple possible explanations for these worrisome observations that need to be explored. Tracking demographics of trainees to help understand passage rates based on demographics will be important. The American Board of Surgery already has begun addressing the potential for unconscious bias among board examiners by increasing diversity and adding implicit bias training.

Perioperative Outcomes and Trends in the Use of Robotic Colectomy for Medicare Beneficiaries From 2010 Through 2016.

JAMA Surgery

The use of robotic surgery for common operations like colectomy is increasing rapidly in the United States, but evidence for its effectiveness is limited and may not reflect real-world practice.

To evaluate outcomes of and trends in the use of robotic, laparoscopic, and open colectomy across diverse practice settings.

This population-based study of Medicare beneficiaries undergoing elective colectomy was conducted between January 2010 and December 2016. We used an instrumental variable analysis to account for both measured and unmeasured differences in patient characteristics between robotic, open, and laparoscopic colectomy procedures. Data were analyzed from January 21, 2019, to March 1, 2019.

Receipt of robotic colectomy.

Incidence of postoperative medical and surgical complications and length of stay.

A total of 191 292 procedures (23 022 robotic procedures [12.0%], 87 639 open procedures [45.8%], and 80 631 laparoscopic colectomy procedures [42.0%]) were included. Robotic colectomy was associated with a lower adjusted rate of overall complications than open colectomy (17.6% [95% CI, 16.9%-18.2%] vs 18.6% [95% CI, 18.4%-18.7%]; relative risk [RR], 0.94 [95% CI, 0.91-0.98]). This difference was driven by lower rates of medical complications (15.5% [95% CI, 14.8%-16.2%] vs 16.9% [95% CI, 16.7%-17.1%]; RR, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.87-0.96]) because surgical complications were higher with the robotic approach (3.0% [95% CI, 2.8%-3.2%] vs 2.4% [95% CI, 2.3%-2.5%]; RR, 1.18 [95% CI, 1.04-1.35]). There were no differences in complications between robotic and laparoscopic colectomy (11.1% [95% CI, 10.5%-11.6%] vs 11.0% [95% CI, 10.8%-11.2%]; RR, 1.00 [95% CI, 0.95-1.05]). There was an overall shift toward greater proportional use of robotic colectomy from 0.7% (457 of 65 332 patients) in 2010 to 10.9% (8274 of 75 909 patients) in 2016. In hospitals with the highest adoption of robotic colectomy between 2010 and 2016, increasing use of robotic colectomy (0.8% [100 of 12 522 patients] to 32.8% [5416 of 16 511 patients]) was associated with a greater replacement of laparoscopic operations (43.8% [5485 of 12 522 patients] to 25.2% [4161 of 16 511 patients]) than open operations (55.4% [6937 of 12 522 patients] to 41.9% [6918 of 16 511 patients]).

While robotic colectomy was associated with minimal safety benefit over open colectomy and had comparable outcomes with laparoscopic colectomy, population-based trends suggest that it replaced a greater proportion of laparoscopic rather than open colectomy, especially in hospitals with the highest adoption of robotics.

Association of Decreased Postsurgical Opioid Prescribing With Patients' Satisfaction With Surgeons.

JAMA Surgery

Opioid overdose is the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Several studies have shown that surgeons overprescribe opioids, and guidelines for appropriate opioid prescribing are available. Concern about patient-reported satisfaction scores may be a barrier to surgeons adopting guideline-directed prescribing.

To determine whether decreased opioid prescribing is associated with a decrease in patient-reported satisfaction with their surgeon.

Retrospective analysis of clinician satisfaction scores at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center obtained in 2 periods: 1 before (period A) and 1 after (period B) an educational intervention that resulted in decreased opioid prescribing. The analysis included 11 surgeons who performed 5 common outpatient general surgical operations on 996 patients. Data were analyzed between March and August 2018.

Patient-reported overall satisfaction rating of the surgeon (scale, 0-10). This was collected by a nonstudy-related, routine general institutional survey of approximately 40% of all outpatient encounters.

Of the total number of patients, 67% were women (667 of 996), and the mean patient age was 58 years. Comparing period A with B, the proportion of patients prescribed opioids decreased from 90.2% (n = 367 of 407) to 72.8% (n = 429 of 589) (P < .001). The mean number of opioid pills per prescription decreased from 28.3 to 13.3 (P < .001) and significantly decreased for each of the 11 surgeons. One hundred five of 996 patients (10.5%) undergoing index operations responded to the survey. There was no difference in the mean clinician satisfaction ratings from period A vs B (9.70 vs 9.65; P = .69). During the study periods, 640 total surveys were collected referencing these surgeons (including outpatient encounters associated with operations other than the 5 index cases). There was no difference in the mean satisfaction ratings from period A vs period B (9.55 vs 9.59; P = .62). When individual clinicians were analyzed, none had a significant difference in overall satisfaction rating from period A vs period B.

Despite a marked decrease in the proportion of patients receiving opioids and in the number of pills prescribed, there was no significant change in clinician satisfaction ratings.

Readability and Understandability Analysis of Online Materials Related to Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair.

Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

Patients commonly use online materials as a source of health information. Since poor health literacy has been shown to correlate with negative outcomes, it is recommended that patient-directed materials be written at a sixth-grade reading level. This study evaluates the readability and understandability of commonly accessed online materials pertaining to both endovascular and open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Searches for "endovascular repair abdominal aortic aneurysm" and "open repair abdominal aortic aneurysm" were performed on both Google and Bing, and the top 10 websites from each search engine were identified. Relevant websites (total N = 28, endovascular n = 15, open n = 15, and 2 redundant sites) with patient-directed content were analyzed. Readability was assessed using 9 established methods, and understandability was assessed using the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool scoring system.

The average reading grade level for all sites was 12.8. Endovascular sites averaged a reading grade level of 13.6 with a range from 11.5 to 15.6. Open-repair websites had a grade-level average of 12.1 with a range from 9.9 to 14.1. Readability was found to be inversely related to understandability, with a Pearson correlation coefficient of -0.551 (P = .003). No website was written at or below the recommended sixth-grade reading level.

Patient-directed online health information pertaining to open and endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm exceeds the recommended sixth-grade reading level. Increasing complexity of health literature correlates with poor understandability. Modifications such as shorter sentences, fewer words with more than 6 letters, and increasing usage of clear visual aids can increase readability and understandability.

Correlation Between the Immediate Remnant Stump Length and Vein Diameter After Cyanoacrylate Closure Using the VenaSeal System During Treatment of an Incompetent Great Saphenous Vein.

Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

Cyanoacrylate glue is injected for incompetent great saphenous vein (GSV) treatment 5 cm distal to the saphenofemoral junction (SFJ). Although a few reports have investigated the postprocedural remnant stump length, none have focused on the factors affecting glue extension length and the consequent remnant stump length.

Seventy-nine patients undergoing cyanoacrylate closure using the VenaSeal system at our clinic between August 2018 and November 2018 were investigated. The GSV diameter was measured just before treatment in the supine position 3 cm distal to the SFJ. Cyanoacrylate glue was injected 5 cm distal to the SFJ.

The mean glue extension length was 1.13 ± 1.12 cm. The GSV diameter and glue extension length exhibited a significant inversely proportional relationship (P < .001). More specifically, patients with a GSV diameter ≥0.7 cm had a longer remnant stump length than those with a smaller GSV diameter (P < .001).

An increased GSV diameter is likely associated with a decreased glue extension length and, consequently, a longer remnant stump.

A Vascular Malformation in the Carotid Sheath at the Carotid Bifurcation Mimicking Carotid Body Tumor.

Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

The carotid sheath contains clinically important and vital anatomical neurogenic, vascular, and lymphatic structures that allow for a great variety of lesions. Vascular anomalies found in the carotid sheath are rarely reported and may be easily misdiagnosed as arterial aneurysms, neurogenic tumors, paragangliomas, or lymphatic masses.

We present a 60-year-old woman with a vascular malformation arising within the carotid sheath at the right carotid bifurcation, which mimics carotid body tumor.

The mass was excised successfully with an uneventful postoperative course, and histological analysis suggested a vascular malformation with thin-walled blood vessels, lined by endothelial cells and separated by fibrous tissue. The patient was in good clinical condition without signs of relapse of the mass at 6-month follow-up.

Vascular malformation is a rare but existing possibility of pathology in the carotid sheath, which can be effectively removed by meticulous surgery.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair in Renal and Liver Transplant Recipients.

Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair in patients with organ transplant remains a challenge. We looked at AAA repair in patients with organ transplants at our tertiary liver and kidney transplant unit.

A retrospective analysis of a prospectively maintained database was undertaken from January 2008 to July 2018. We looked at patient demographics, type of repair, and technical success including reinterventions, perioperative transplant organ function, and 30-day and 1-year survival rate. Eight of 662 patients who underwent AAA repair had a solid organ transplant. Of these, 5 were kidney transplants, 2 liver transplants, and 1 had kidney and liver transplant; 75% were male; and average age was 63.4 (range: 49-83). All patients had asymptomatic AAAs, and 6 were treated with standard endovascular repair, 1 standard repair with iliac branch device, and 1 open repair. Adjunctive techniques such as CO2 angiograms, deployment of main body through contralateral iliac, low-profile sheaths, custom-made stent grafts, and temporary axillo-femoral shunting were used to protect transplant organs. Thirty-day survival was 100% with 1 death at 5 months from liver failure, and 1 patient has a persistent type-2 endoleak 3 years after the procedure.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm repair in patients with organ transplants can be undertaken using adjunctive endovascular and open surgical techniques.

Comparison of drug-coated balloon angioplasty versus conventional angioplasty for arteriovenous fistula stenosis: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

J Vasc Access

Arteriovenous fistula is the most preferred form of vascular access, but stenosis treated by balloon angioplasty is prone to restenosis. Multiple trials have been published with regard to the use of paclitaxel-coated balloon to prolong lesion patency compared to conventional balloon. Although paclitaxel-coated balloon has theoretical appeal, its use has not been widespread nationwide due to cost and lack of large-scale multicenter studies. We performed this meta-analysis to evaluate whether paclitaxel-coated balloon outperforms conventional balloon to prolong target lesion patency.

PubMed/Medline, Clinical, EMBASE, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane Central were searched from inception through April 2019 for studies that investigated the use of paclitaxel-coated balloon in arteriovenous fistula.

Ten studies were included in the final meta-analysis: six studies were randomized controlled trials and four studies were cohort studies. There were 911 participants with a mean age of 64.78 (±5.96) years, and 61.89% were male. Outcome of interest was target lesion primary patency, recorded at 1, 3, 6, 7, 12, and 24 months. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials shows that paclitaxel-coated balloons did not statistically improve target lesion primary patency compared to conventional balloons at months 1 (odds ratio = 1.54, p = 0.6373), 3 (odds ratio = 0.57, p = 0.0575), 6 (odds ratio = 0.65, p = 0.3644), 7 (odds ratio = 0.63, p = 0.0582), 12 (odds ratio = 0.64, p = 0.0612), and 24 (odds ratio = 0.43, p = 0.3452). Effect of paclitaxel-coated balloons was statistically significant for cohort studies at months 6 (odds ratio = 0.26, p = 0.0007), 12 (odds ratio = 0.21, p = 0.0001), and 24 (odds ratio = 0.23, p = 0.01).

Paclitaxel-coated balloon showed no statistically significant improvement over conventional balloons in decreasing fistula stenosis in randomized controlled trial but were significant for cohort studies.

A patient's decision aid for vascular access placement in the emergency department.

J Vasc Access

Vascular access device placement is one of the most routinely performed procedures in the emergency department. Despite its high usage, most patients have limited knowledge about vascular access device placement. Patient decision aids have been utilized heavily in non-emergency department settings to provide basic clinical information regarding a patient's medical care options. In this study, we investigated whether exposure to a patient decision aid on vascular access devices and patients' experiences with vascular access devices would influence their vascular access device preference during an acute care episode.

Patients in this institutional review board-approved study were enrolled prospectively in the emergency department at a busy level 1 trauma institution. A patient decision aid on vascular access device was constructed using criteria developed by the International Patient Decision Aid Standards. All participants were exposed to the patient decision aid and were asked to complete two questionnaires, and two tests.

Fifty subjects (50) were enrolled prospectively in the emergency department. The mean pretest score was 17.2% (95% confidence interval, 0.54-1.18), while the mean post-test score was 72.4% (95% confidence interval, 3.15-4.09). We found that patients who were exposed to the patient decision aid preferred landmark-based peripheral intravenous lines over ultrasound-guided peripheral intravenous lines in this data set.

The result from this analysis indicated that most patients visiting the emergency department are not knowledgeable about their options related to vascular access device placement. The observed increase in the average correct responses on the post-test indicates that a patient decision aid can be an effective educational tool in the emergency department.

Parathyroidectomy for Patients With Primary Hyperparathyroidism and Associations With Hypertension.

JAMA Surgery

Hyperparathyroidism is associated with cardiovascular disease. However, evidence for a beneficial consequence of parathyroidectomy on hypertension is limited.

To investigate if parathyroidectomy improves hypertension in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT).

In this cohort study and retrospective database review, patients with PHPT and hypertension between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2016, were identified. The mean arterial pressure (MAP) and number of antihypertensive medications were compared between those who did and did not undergo parathyroidectomy. The setting was a large health care system. Primary hyperparathyroidism was defined using biochemical data, and hypertension was identified by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes.

Parathyroidectomy was identified in the database by Current Procedural Terminology codes.

The MAP and use of antihypertensive medications were compared for patients who underwent parathyroidectomy and those who did not at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the adjusted odds ratios for both increased and decreased use of antihypertensive medications.

In this cohort study of 2380 participants (79.0% female), patients undergoing parathyroidectomy (n = 501) were younger (mean [SD] age, 65.3 [9.7] vs 71.9 [10.4] years; P < .001) and took fewer antihypertensive medications at baseline (mean [SD] number of medications, 1.2 [1.1] vs 1.5 [1.3], P < .001) than nonsurgical patients (n = 1879). Patients with parathyroidectomy showed greater improvement in their MAP at all follow-up time points (the median [SD] MAP change from baseline to 1 year was 0.1 [8.7] mm Hg without parathyroidectomy vs -1.2 [7.7] mm Hg after parathyroidectomy, P = .002). Nonsurgical patients were more likely vs those with parathyroidectomy to require more antihypertensive medications at 6 months (15.9% [n = 298] vs 9.8% [n = 49], P = .001), 1 year (18.1% [n = 340] vs 10.8% [n = 54], P < .001), and 2 years (17.6% [n = 330] vs 12.2% [n = 61], P = .004). By multivariable analysis, parathyroidectomy was independently associated with freedom from an increased number of antihypertensive medications at all periods (eg, adjusted odds ratio, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.34-0.70; P < .001 at 1 year). Among patients who were initially not taking antihypertensive medications, patients with parathyroidectomy were less likely vs no surgery to start antihypertensive medication treatment at all periods (eg, 10.2% [13 of 127] vs 30.4% [136 of 447], P < .001 at 1 year).

This study's findings suggest that, among hypertensive patients with PHPT, parathyroidectomy may be associated not only with greater decreases in their MAP but also with reduced requirements for antihypertensive medications. Parathyroidectomy decreased the number of patients who began taking antihypertensive medications. Additional study will be required to find whether there are downstream cardiovascular benefits of parathyroidectomy. Preexisting hypertension, particularly in those not already taking antihypertensive medications, should be considered when weighing surgical treatment.

Risk of Pulmonary Embolism More Than 6 Weeks After Surgery Among Cancer-Free Middle-aged Patients.

JAMA Surgery

The risk of postoperative pulmonary embolism has been reported to be highest during the first 5 weeks after surgery. However, how long the excess risk of postoperative pulmonary embolism persists remains unknown.

To assess the duration and magnitude of the late postoperative risk of pulmonary embolism among cancer-free middle-aged patients by the type of surgery.

Case-crossover analysis to compute the respective risks of pulmonary embolism after 6 types of surgery using data from a French national inpatient database, which covers a total of 203 million inpatient stays over an 8-year period between 2007 and 2014. Participants were cancer-free middle-aged adult patients (aged 45 to 64) with a diagnosis of a first pulmonary embolism.

Hospital admission for surgery. Surgical procedures were classified into 6 types: (1) vascular surgery, (2) gynecological surgery, (3) gastrointestinal surgery, (4) hip or knee replacement, (5) fractures, and (6) other orthopedic operations.

Diagnosis of a first pulmonary embolism.

A total of 60 703 patients were included (35 766 [58.9%] male; mean [SD] age, 56.6 [6.0] years). The risk of postoperative pulmonary embolism was elevated for at least 12 weeks after all types of surgery and was highest during the immediate postoperative period (1 to 6 weeks). The excess risk of postoperative pulmonary embolism ranged from odds ratio (OR), 5.24 (95% CI, 3.91-7.01) for vascular surgery to OR, 8.34 (95% CI, 6.07-11.45) for surgery for fractures. The risk remained elevated from 7 to 12 weeks, with the OR ranging from 2.26 (95% CI, 1.81-2.82) for gastrointestinal operations to 4.23 (95% CI, 3.01-5.92) for surgery for fractures. The risk was not clinically significant beyond 18 weeks postsurgery for all types of procedures.

The risk of postoperative pulmonary embolism is elevated beyond 6 weeks postsurgery regardless of the type of procedure. The persistence of this excess risk suggests that further randomized clinical trials are required to evaluate whether the duration of postoperative prophylactic anticoagulation should be extended and to define the optimal duration of treatment with regard to both the thrombotic and bleeding risks.

Long-term Outcomes of Lung Transplant With Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion.

JAMA Surgery

The mortality rate for individuals on the wait list for lung transplant is 15% to 25%, and still only 20% of lungs from multiorgan donors are used for lung transplant. The lung donor pool may be increased by assessing and reconditioning high-risk extended criteria donor lungs with ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP), with similar short-term outcomes.

To assess the long-term outcomes of transplant recipients of donor lungs treated with EVLP.

This retrospective cohort single-center study was conducted from August 1, 2008, to February 28, 2017, among 706 recipients of donor lungs not undergoing EVLP and 230 recipients of donor lungs undergoing EVLP.

Donor lungs undergoing EVLP.

The incidence of chronic lung allograft dysfunction and allograft survival during the 10-year EVLP era were the primary outcome measures. Secondary outcomes included donor characteristics, maximum predicted percentage of forced expiratory volume in 1 second, acute cellular rejection, and de novo donor-specific antibody development.

This study included 706 patients (311 women and 395 men; median age, 50 years [interquartile range, 34-61 years]) in the non-EVLP group and 230 patients (85 women and 145 men; median age, 46 years [interquartile range, 32-55 years]) in the EVLP group. The EVLP group donors had a significantly lower mean (SD) Pao2:fraction of inspired oxygen ratio than the non-EVLP group donors (348 [108] vs 422 [88] mm Hg; P < .001), higher prevalence of abnormal chest radiography results (135 of 230 [58.7%] vs 349 of 706 [49.4%]; P = .02), and higher proportion of smoking history (125 of 204 [61.3%] vs 322 of 650 [49.5%]; P = .007). More recipients in the EVLP group received single-lung transplants (62 of 230 [27.0%] vs 100 of 706 [14.2%]; P < .001). There was no significant difference in time to chronic lung allograft dysfunction between the EVLP and non-EVLP group (70% vs 72% at 3 years; 56% vs 56% at 5 years; and 53% vs 36% at 9 years; log-rank P = .68) or allograft survival between the EVLP and non-EVLP groups (73% vs 72% at 3 years; 62% vs 58% at 5 years; and 50% vs 44% at 9 years; log-rank P = .97) between the 2 groups. All secondary outcomes were similar between the 2 groups.

Since 2008, 230 of 936 lung transplants (24.6%) in the Toronto Lung Transplant Program were performed after EVLP assessment and treatment. Use of EVLP-treated lungs led to an increase in the number of patients undergoing transplantation, with comparable long-term outcomes.