Objective: Guidelines from the Society for Vascular Surgery and the Choosing Wisely campaign recommend that peripheral vascular interventions (PVIs) be limited to claudication patients with lifestyle-limiting symptoms only after a failed trial of medical and exercise therapy. We sought to explore practice patterns and physician characteristics associated with early PVI after a new claudication diagnosis to evaluate adherence to these guidelines. Methods: We used 100% Medicare fee-for-service claims to identify patients diagnosed with claudication for the first time between 2015 and 2017. Early PVI was defined as an aortoiliac or femoropopliteal PVI performed within 6 months of initial claudication diagnosis. A physician-level PVI utilization rate was calculated for physicians who diagnosed >10 claudication patients and performed at least one PVI (regardless of indication) during the study period. Hierarchical multivariable logistic regression was used to identify physician-level factors associated with early PVI. Results: Of 194,974 patients who had a first-time diagnosis of claudication during the study period, 6286 (3.2%) underwent early PVI. Among the 5664 physicians included in the analysis, the median physician-level early PVI rate was low at 0% (range, 0%-58.3%). However, there were 320 physicians (5.6%) who had an early PVI rate ≥14% (≥2 standard deviations above the mean). After accounting for patient characteristics, a higher percentage of services delivered in ambulatory surgery center or office settings was associated with higher PVI utilization (vs 0%-22%; 23%-47%: adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.23; 48%-68%: aOR, 1.49; 69%-100%: aOR, 1.72; all P <.05). Other risk-adjusted physician factors independently associated with high PVI utilization included male sex (aOR, 2.04), fewer years in practice (vs ≥31 years; 11-20 years: aOR, 1.23; 21-30 years: aOR, 1.13), rural location (aOR, 1.25), and lower volume claudication practice (vs ≥30 patients diagnosed during study period; ≤17 patients: aOR, 1.30; 18-29 patients: aOR, 1.35; all P <.05). Conclusions: Outlier physicians with a high early PVI rate for patients newly diagnosed with claudication are identifiable using a claims-based practice pattern measure. Given the shared Society for Vascular Surgery and Choosing Wisely initiative goal to avoid interventions for first-line treatment of claudication, confidential data-sharing programs using national benchmarks and educational guidance may be useful to address high utilization in the management of claudication.
- Peripheral vascular intervention
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine