Vascular surgeons assisting nonvascular colleagues require depth/breadth of experience


Vascular surgeons called upon to provide intraoperative assistance should be prepared to undertake a wide range of repairs.

Nonvascular surgery patients who required any vascular repair had a higher incidence of the primary endpoint of death, myocardial infarction, or unplanned return to the operating room within 30 days post surgery. In addition, such cases accounted for almost 7% of the operative volume of the hospital’s vascular surgery service, according to the results of a retrospective record review of all 533 patients who underwent nonvascular surgery requiring intraoperative assistance by a vascular surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, between January 2010 and June 2014.

After excluding 28 trauma patients and 226 who required placement of an inferior vena cava filter only, the remaining cohort of 299 patients were assessed. This cohort represented 6.9% of the entire operative output of the vascular surgery service at the hospital during the period assessed. The cohort comprised 49.5% men and a had mean patient age of 56.4 years, according to Tadaki M. Tomita, MD , and his colleagues at Northwestern University, Chicago.

Intraoperative assistance was requested by 12 different surgical subspecialties during the period studied, with the most common being neurosurgery (33.8%), orthopedic surgery (26.4%), urology (15.7%), and surgical oncology (6.7%). The major vascular surgeon participation by indications were spine exposure (52%), vascular reconstruction (19%), vascular control without hemorrhage (14.4%), and control of hemorrhage (14.4%), according to a report published online in JAMA Surgery (2016 Aug 3. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2016.2247 ).

For the entire cohort, 110 patients (36.8%) required vascular repairs, with 13 bypasses (4.4%), 18 patch angioplasties (6.0%), and 79 primary repairs (26.4%) performed; 64 cases were venous (21.4%) and 43 arterial (14.7%). The anatomic distribution in patients requiring vascular repair was 72.7% truncal and 27.4% peripheral.

Patients who required any vascular repair had a significantly higher incidence of the primary endpoint than did patients who did not require vascular repair (17.4% vs. 7.9%; P = .01), with five deaths, 16 MIs, and 20 unplanned returns to the OR.

“Vascular surgeons are often called on by nonvascular surgeons for assistance in the OR in a variety of clinical situations and anatomic locations,” the researchers stated. The vascular surgeon in all cases performed an open surgical exposure and open repair was performed in all cases that required vascular repair.

“While most consultations occurred preoperatively, a high proportion of emergent cases that are more likely to require vascular repair demonstrates the importance of having vascular surgeons immediately available at the hospital. To continue providing this valuable service, vascular trainees will need to continue to learn the full breadth of anatomic exposures and open vascular reconstructions,” the researchers concluded.

The authors reported that they had no disclosures.


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