Importance of Vascular Ultrasound for Vascular Surgical Practice: The Results of an Online, Mixed-Methods Survey of Practicing Vascular Surgeons

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Introduction/Patient Description

To determine the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of practicing vascular surgeons related to the role of vascular ultrasound (VUS).

Methods

An online mixed methods survey was developed and distributed to practicing vascular surgeons of a national specialty society. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis was used as appropriate.

Results

The response rate was 45%. 33% of respondents had been in practice for more than 20 years and 23% for less than 5 years. 39% of respondents had no involvement in VUS facility, 42% acting as a reporting physician and 11% acting as reporting physician with management responsibilities. Only 39% of respondents had their RPVI credential. 96% of respondents agreed with the statement that high quality VUS improves patient care. 97% of respondents believed that VUS should be available to all vascular patients and all vascular specialties and that VUS is a requirement for a modern vascular practice. VUS is the primary modality of choice for abdominal aortic aneurysm (93%), peripheral vascular disease (79%), venous disease (90%), extracranial carotid artery disease (97%), and hemodialysis access planning (80%). Incomplete or poor quality VUS reports accompany over 50% of referrals to vascular surgeons. Thematic analysis revealed the following themes: access to and availability of VUS, quality of VUS and its impact on health care resource utilization, importance of the role of a vascular specialist, and the importance and prominence of the role of VUS in modern vascular practice.

Conclusion/Discussion

The importance of the role of vascular ultrasound is widely understood by practicing vascular surgeons. However, there remains a spread in terms of the involvement of vascular surgeons within vascular ultrasound labs. Incomplete/poor-quality reports remain an issue with referrals to a vascular surgeon’s office. The importance of and issues related to vascular ultrasound needs to be further understood and addressed to increase high quality patient care.

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Presented by

Elizabeth Wooster, PhD (C), OISE/University of Toronto