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Competence assessment of senior vascular trainees using a carotid endarterectomy bench model

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Competency‐based assessment is being introduced to surgical training. The value of bench‐top technical skills assessment using a synthetic carotid endarterectomy (CEA) model was evaluated in vascular trainees and consultants.


Forty‐one surgeons (13 junior trainees, 15 senior trainees and 13 experienced consultants with experience of more than 50 CEAs) performed a three‐throw knot‐tying exercise on a jig and a CEA on the bench model. A composite score for knot‐tying was calculated, incorporating electromagnetic motion analysis. CEA technical skill was assessed using validated rating scales by blinded video analysis.


Senior trainees performed better than junior trainees in knot‐tying (P = 0·025) as well as generic (P < 0·001) and procedural (P < 0·001) skills on CEA model assessment. There was no difference between senior trainees and consultants on any of these measures. The CEA model interobserver reliability was high for all rating scales (generic α = 0·974, procedural α = 0·952, end‐product α = 0·976).


Senior trainees achieved the same score as consultants, suggesting a similar level of basic technical skill and knowledge required to perform CEA, and were significantly better than junior trainees. Performance on the bench model could provide an early assessment for suitability to proceed to operative training in a competency‐based training and assessment programme. Copyright © 2007 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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