Ensuring Competency in Open Aortic Aneurysm Repair - Development and Validation of a New Assessment Tool

Leizl J Nayahangan, Jonathan Lawaetz, Michael Strøm, Louise de la Motte, Peter Rørdam, Bo C Gottschalksen, Nikolaj F Grøndal, Martin Græbe, Jes Sandermann, Brian L Pedersen, Lars Konge, Jonas Eiberg, Collaborators in Denmark

16 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The aims of this study were to develop a procedure specific assessment tool for open abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair, gather validity evidence for the tool and establish a pass/fail standard.

METHODS: Validity was studied based on the contemporary framework by Messick. Three vascular surgeons experienced in open AAA repair and an expert in assessment and validation within medical education developed the OPEn aortic aneurysm Repair Assessment of Technical Expertise (OPERATE) tool. Vascular surgeons with varying experiences performed open AAA repair in a standardised simulation based setting. All procedures were video recorded with the faces anonymised and scored independently by three experts in a mutual blinded setup. The Angoff standard setting method was used to establish a credible pass/fail score.

RESULTS: Sixteen novices and nine experienced open vascular surgeons were enrolled. The OPERATE tool achieved high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha .92) and inter-rater reliability (Cronbach's alpha .95) and was able to differentiate novices and experienced surgeons with mean scores (higher score is better) of 13.4 ± 12 and 25.6 ± 6, respectively (p = .01). The pass/fail score was set high (27.7). One novice passed the test while six experienced surgeons failed.

CONCLUSION: Validity evidence was established for the newly developed OPERATE tool and was able to differentiate between novices and experienced surgeons providing a good argument that this tool can be used for both formative and summative assessment in a simulation based environment. The high pass/fail score emphasises the need for novices to train in a simulation based environment up to a certain level of competency before apprenticeship training in the clinical environment under the tutelage of a supervisor. Familiarisation with the simulation equipment must be ensured before performance is assessed as reflected by the low scores in the experienced group's first attempt.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean journal of vascular and endovascular surgery : the official journal of the European Society for Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)767-774
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal/surgery
  • Clinical Competence
  • Humans
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures/methods
  • Training
  • Simulation
  • Open AAA
  • Assessment
  • Validation study


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