Top Things to Know: Addressing Paucity of Women in Interventional Vascular Specialties

Published: February 20, 2024

  1. Interventional vascular specialties constitute a dynamic field characterized by evolving innovations and treatment methods.
  2. Within the realm of interventional vascular specialties, there are only a few areas where various disciplines (such as interventional cardiology, interventional radiology, and vascular surgery) collaborate in patient care.
  3. Representation of women in interventional vascular fields lags behind other procedure-based specialties, with women representing far less than 5% of interventional cardiologists, 9.8% of interventional radiologists, and 14.6% of vascular surgeons.
  4. Medical students tend to possess limited familiarity with interventional vascular specialties, and achieving a more balanced gender distribution relies on enhancing early exposure.
  5. Early exposure to and visibility of women in a field play pivotal roles in how students, particularly female students, select their specialties.
  6. Actual and perceived barriers for women pursuing interventional vascular specialties include lack of mentorship, duration of training, lifestyle considerations, work culture and environment, and radiation exposure.
  7. Both interventional radiology and vascular surgery have augmented the representation of women in training by adopting streamlined training pathways.
  8. Interventional cardiology remains an exception with an 8-year training pathway for endovascular intervention, lacking formal ACGME accreditation for this advanced training.
  9. Emulating the success of streamlining training duration in interventional radiology and vascular surgery to enhance gender equality, shortening the training duration for interventional cardiology could potentially attract more women to advanced endovascular fellowship programs.
  10. Ensuring the enduring presence of women in interventional vascular specialties mandates institutional promotion of female leaders, engagement of professional organizations in endorsing female practitioners, firm anti-harassment policies, and addressing challenges associated with collaborative care among multiple specialties for vascular patients.


Altin SE, Kwong M, Hamburg NM, Creager MA, Banerjee S, Oladini L, Schneider MD, Ruddy JM; on behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease; Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia; Council on Clinical Cardiology; and Stroke Council. Addressing barriers to entry and retention of women in interventional vascular specialties with proposed solutions: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. Published online February 20, 2024. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000001210