Background: Shortened trainingtimes duetothe European Working Time Directive (EWTD) and increased public scrutiny of surgical competency have led to a move away from the traditional apprenticeship model of training. Virtual reality (VR) simulation is a fascinating innovation allowing surgeons to develop without the need to practice on real patients and it may be a solution to achieve competency within a shortened training period.
Method: A Medline search was performed to identify studies and commentaries on the use of VR simulators in endovascular training.
Findings: Three studies on carotid stenting and four on peripheral vascular angioplasty demonstrate that simulator training is a valid, feasible and acceptable training tool. One randomised study reports that these skills learned on simulators are transferable to the operating room.
Conclusion: VR simulators have a role in competency based, structured training of vascular interventionalists and should improve patient safety.