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Surgery. 2001 Feb;129(2):136-42.

Vascular surgeons--do they make a difference in peripheral vascular disease?

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Carilon Medical Center, Roanoke, Virginia, USA.



The purpose of this study was to quantitate the effect of surgeons with added qualifications in general vascular surgery on aortic and peripheral vascular surgery performed in a community hospital.


We performed a retrospective study covering a 22-year period and comparing indications, procedures, and results of surgeons who had added qualifications in general vascular surgery with those of board certified general and thoracic surgeons in a private hospital. In Period I (1975-1982), there were 702 vascular procedures all performed by thoracic (65%) and general (35%) surgeons. In Period II (1982-1997), there were 2590 vascular procedures performed by vascular surgeons (73%), general surgeons (7%), and thoracic surgeons (20%). A further comparison was done to examine the results of surgeons with added qualifications in general vascular surgery with board certified general and thoracic surgeons within Period II.


The volume and frequency of different types of vascular surgery changed significantly from Period I to Period II with lower extremity prosthetic reconstructions decreasing from 12% to 8.2% and autogenous lower extremity bypasses increasing from 15% to 36%. The percentage of distal reconstructions increased significantly from 27% of the total vascular surgeries in Period I to 44.3% in Period II. In Period II, vascular surgeons operated on older patients, had decreased mortality, decreased length of stay, and performed more distal bypasses than board certified general and thoracic surgeons.


The development of vascular surgery as a separate specialty appears to have had a beneficial effect on the types of vascular surgery and the results when compared in a contemporaneous or retrospective fashion.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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