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Vascular Surgery Training Programs

Program director:  Satish Muluk, MD
Accreditation:  ACGME
Program length:
   Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program:  2 years (PGY6-PGY7)
   Integrated Sequential Vascular Surgery and Thoracic Surgery Residency Program:  7 years (PGY1-PGY7)
Residents per year:
   Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program:  1 (not recruiting this year)
   Integrated Sequential Vascular Surgery and Thoracic Surgery Residency Program:  1
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About the Programs

It is only in the last several years that vascular surgery has evolved into a well-defined and highly specialized field. The demand for practitioners in this field has been steadily growing over the last decade, and so too has the need for high-quality training of vascular surgeons.

Our Vascular Surgery Residency Program has enjoyed a distinct identity for over 20 years, and the practice has grown to encompass the entire gamut of surgical and interventional procedures associated with this specialty. The faculty is strongly committed to being on the leading edge of the field and to ensuring that our trainees are among the finest in the nation.

The program emphasizes broad-based clinical training. It is based in two tertiary care hospitals, and residents will also rotate at a large community hospital. We perform a large number of tertiary care cases, but we have also a very strong representation of “bread and butter” vascular surgery cases. Because of this, we believe that our graduates will be well positioned to treat both routine and complex vascular surgery problems that they encounter in their practice. In the year ending June 2010, our group performed over 2000 surgical cases.

Additionally, we have numerous opportunities for trainees to participate in both clinical and basic research.

We are accepting applications to these 2 vascular surgery residency programs:


Our programs provide outstanding faculty and facilities, including our Cardiovascular Training "Wet" / Basic Skills Lab, that serve as resources for our entire Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.  We are very proud of our alumni and current residents.


Vascular Surgery Residency Program


The integrated (0+5) program in vascular surgery represents a relatively new concept. Trainees can enter this pathway right out of medical school, and the five-year program will lead to a primary certificate in vascular surgery. The resident will not be eligible for certification in general surgery.  However, many do not consider this to be a significant deficiency, because many vascular surgeons prefer a vascular-only practice. For more detailed information on vascular surgery training, visit the Society of Vascular Surgeons website.

A distinctive feature of our program is our close connection with our sister program in thoracic surgery. Trainees in the integrated program will have the option of undertaking a two-year accredited thoracic surgery residency after their vascular surgery residency, making them eligible for certification in both vascular surgery and cardiothoracic surgery. Upon completion, the surgeon will have a broad and unique set of skills encompassing vascular, cardiac and thoracic surgery.

Training program highlights:

  • Clinical Education: We have designed a comprehensive clinical program. In the first two years, the resident will receive solid exposure to vascular surgery rotations, as well as key non-vascular rotations. The latter rotations have been selected so as to provide maximal value to the resident's ultimate career in vascular surgery. A sample rotation grid is shown here.
  • Conferences: The resident will participate in a robust conference schedule. See here for more details.
  • Basic Skills Training: It is often assumed that residents will learn to do procedures while assisting or performing surgery on patients. While this is undoubtedly true, we believe that patient-based training should not be the only means of developing technical skills. Our clinical program will be supplemented with a Basic Skills Lab. This is a relatively new and exciting training concept. The resident will participate in a faculty-supervised lab in PGY1-PGY3. This program is designed to teach key skills outside of the OR setting, so that the resident will be optimally prepared to perform cases on patients. Examples include knot-tying, basic suturing, and using a simulator device to perform virtual endovascular and laparoscopic surgery. Procedures on animals will also be performed as part of the Basic Skills Lab.
  • Supervised Didactic Education: Historically, it has been assumed that trainees will read on their own, in order to supplement what they learn from their clinical experience and conferences. We have noticed that self-learning works for some trainees, but not for others. In order to help oversee this crucial part of the resident's education, we have designed a program whereby the resident will meet twice a month with a faculty member, who will oversee the resident's "book learning." The program includes a comprehensive schedule of topics that the resident will read about each month over the first three years. The first year topics focus on general care of the surgical patient, and the following two years focus on vascular surgery, using the curriculum proposed by the Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery.



Integrated Sequential Program in Vascular Surgery and Thoracic Surgery

Our Integrated Sequential Program in Vascular Surgery and Thoracic Surgery enrolled its first resident in July 2010. The program is designed to provide a focused clinical and didactic curriculum for the medical school graduate, leading to board certification in both vascular and thoracic surgery.

The program begins with five years of integrated vascular surgery training (PGY1-PGY5), preparing the resident to sit for the board examination in vascular surgery. The resident then completes two years (PGY6-PGY7) in our Thoracic Surgery Residency Training Program, preparing the resident to become board-certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.

Curriculum in Vascular Surgery and Thoracic Surgery

The first year of training in this program, comprising three 4-month blocks, is supervised by vascular, general thoracic, or cardiac surgeons. A faculty member meets with the first-year resident twice each month for one-on-one medical knowledge review and mentoring. A skills laboratory under the direction of a thoracic surgeon is held bi-monthly during PGY1-PGY3, with additional and/or remedial training available in subsequent years.

The curriculum is structured to allow the resident to complete board requirements for vascular surgery certification following year five. The commitment to complete thoracic surgery training (PGY6 and PGY7) and sit for the board exam in thoracic surgery is made at the end of PGY4.

The curriculum rotations are clearly relevant to the fields of thoracic, cardiac, and vascular surgery.  All of the procedures learned are important elements of the requisite skill set. The development of competencies is enhanced by the fact that the resident works with leaders in cardiac, thoracic, and vascular surgery throughout his or her training.

Options for Graduates

Graduates of the integrated sequential 7-year program will possess a skill set that is uniquely attractive to healthcare facilities looking for flexibility in meeting their service requirements. Obviously, a small but important set of graduates will be attracted to this training to enhance concentration in one of the three disciplines by development of an advanced skill set. It also appeals to those planning an academic or research career.

Examples of practice options include:

  1. Adult cardiac surgery in a university hospital with an emphasis on high-acuity end-stage heart failure procedures, including heart transplantation, left ventricular assist device implantation, minimally invasive valve and coronary bypass procedures, percutaneous valve procedures, robotic procedures, great vessel endovascular procedures, and atrial fibrillation procedures.

  2. Adult general thoracic surgery in a university hospital, with an emphasis on either thoracic oncology or lung transplant.

  3. Vascular surgery in a university setting with an emphasis on endovascular therapies, including great vessel procedures.

  4. Community hospital cardiovascular surgery performing conventional cardiac and vascular procedures.

  5. Community cardiothoracic surgery performing conventional cardiac surgery and general thoracic procedures.

  6. Community hospital practice in conventional thoracic and vascular surgery.

  7. Surgical critical care in a unit devoted to thoracic and cardiovascular surgery.

In addition, the graduate would bring unique skills to training programs in pediatric heart surgery.



Cardiovascular Training/"Wet" Lab

A special feature of our program is the Cardiovascular "Wet" Lab held four times each year in the Cardiovascular Training Lab at Allegheny General Hospital.  General Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Cardiac Surgery and Vascular Surgery house staff are invited to these sessions to practice suturing and other procedures on pig hearts and valves.  Photos of vascular surgery house staff and faculty from recent wet labs are shown below:


Alumni and Residents


Vascular Surgery (5+2) Program Alumni

2013 - Casey L. Yossa, MD, practicing in Louisville, KY
2012 - Angelo M. Santos, MD, practicing in Sioux Falls, SD
2011 - Elizabeth L. Detschelt, MD, practicing in Albany, NY
2010 - Joseph L. Grisafi, MD, practicing in Philadelphia, PA
2009 - Rodeen Rahbar, MD, practicing in Washington, DC


2013-2014 Vascular Surgery Fellow (5+2 program) and Vascular Surgery Residents (0+5 program)


Georges Haidar, MD, PGY-6

Medical School:  University of Balamand, Lebanon

General Surgery Residency:  Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, MD


Harper L. Padolsky, MD, PGY-4

Medical School:  Tufts University School of Medicine


Marissa D. Toma, MD, PGY-3

Medical School:  Drexel University College of Medicine


Karthik Mikkineni, MD, PGY-2

Medical School:  Guntur Medical College, India


Carlos Torres-Medina, MD, PGY-1

Medical School:  Ponce School of Medicine, Puerto Rico





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