The Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery (APDVS) worked with 3D Systems to create Fundamentals of Endovascular Surgery (FEVS), what the organization says is the first hands-on skill assessment exam for vascular surgery trainees.

FEVS is a simulation-based vascular surgery skills training and assessment exam that’s part of a broader curriculum, The Fundamentals of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery (FVEVS), which also includes an open surgical component called The Fundamentals of Vascular Surgery (FVS). The goal of FEVS is to enhance endovascular core skills, objectively assess the skills of vascular surgery trainees and improve the ability to qualitatively assess trainees. The exam is scheduled to launch in 10 U.S. Centers in the first quarter of 2019, and APDVS anticipates FEVS will become a requirement for vascular surgery certification.

Although there are many global rating devices for endovascular procedures, no universally accepted device has been adopted by vascular educators. FEVS includes a physical non-anatomical model for hands-on training, and an identical virtual simulation model on 3D Systems’ Simbionix ANGIO Mentor virtual reality platform that provides an objective hands-on assessment exam. 3D Systems says its unique proficiencies in 3D printing and virtual simulation enabled the collaborative development of a physical and virtual model that can repeatedly correlate by sophisticated testing.

APDVS members – led by Associate Professor Jean Bismuth, MD, and Professor Malachi Sheahan, MD – identified the core set of skills and established a list of tasks related to those skills. The FEVS content has been endorsed by the APDVS and its development and implementation is officiated by The Committee of Fundamentals of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery.  Completing eight successful FEVS tasks will be deemed a pass for having acquired the fundamental skills required to foster more advanced endovascular procedures as noted in this study.

FEVS follows the example of Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES) and Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) that teach and assess a standard set of skills to help ensure a minimal standard of care for all patients undergoing laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures, and became a requirement for board certification by the American Board of Surgery (ABS).

"We wanted a tool to test our residents to determine if they have mastered the necessary skills to perform these procedures," said Jean Bismuth, MD. “After the initial launch to 12 programs throughout the U.S., we hope that we will have a product, with refined logistics, that we will be able to run in all programs around the country. The goal is that it will be not only a mandated training program but also a mandated exam, and students will not be able to graduate if they don't pass the criteria in this program.”