Risk Factor Modification Behaviors of Practicing Vascular Surgeons.

Abstract

BACKGROUND National smoking rates have declined; however, it remains the primary modifiable risk factor for nearly all vascular disease. While vascular surgeons have the availability to treat patients via medical or surgical/endovascular means, involvement in risk factor modification may be lacking. This study seeks to understand vascular surgeons' involvement in tobacco cessation and risk factor modification and to determine if practice variables had any effect on provision of these services to vascular surgery patients. METHODS Anonymous electronic surveys examining tobacco cessation and risk factor modification were sent to the Vascular & Endovascular Surgery Society members (n = 633). Influence of time from training, practice type (dichotomized into academic and nonacademic vascular surgeons), hospital size, region, and workload was assessed, and data were analyzed by univariate contingency tables. RESULTS A total of 149 (24%) surveys were completed. While the majority of respondents ask patient's smoking status (97%), assess willingness to quit (84%), and advise patients to quit (95%), only 34% prescribe medications to assist in cessation, 7% see patients in tobacco cessation follow-up, and 3% verify cessation with cotinine levels or carbon monoxide monitoring. Surgeons who prescribed medications for cessation are more likely to assess patient's willingness to quit, prescribe/advise nicotine replacement, or prescribe initial statin or other lipid-lowering medications. There was no difference in perceived education received during training in risk factor modification, but only 26% of respondents thought they were well trained. Comparing academic to private practice vascular surgeons, there was no difference in cessation techniques used; however, academic surgeons were less likely to perform endovascular procedures for claudication in patients who continued to smoke (29% vs. 46%, P = 0.03) and more likely to prescribe an initial antihyperlipid medication (65% vs. 39%, P = 0.0018). CONCLUSIONS Tobacco dependence remains a critical issue for vascular surgery patients; however, there is wide variation in cessation techniques used. The majority of vascular surgeons are not well versed in cessation techniques and risk factor modification, and thus, efforts should be made to provide this education in vascular surgery training programs.

DOI: 10.1016/j.avsg.2017.05.010

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Cite this paper

@article{Bader2017RiskFM, title={Risk Factor Modification Behaviors of Practicing Vascular Surgeons.}, author={Alexandra P Bader and Claudia P Barone and Matthew R Smeds}, journal={Annals of vascular surgery}, year={2017} }