The ACVC written examination is open to all healthcare practitioners involved in acute cardiovascular care:
- doctors of all relevant specialties
- all registered healthcare workers
- all other healthcare professionals
ACVC Certification is not a compulsory or regulatory certificate of competence or excellence. Individuals' rights to report and sign clinical studies in individual countries remain to be defined by national laws and regulations.
The ACVC examination is a multiple-choice written examination in English.
The examination consists of 100 questions, over 3 hours, with no break.
Questions are designed to assess knowledge of the candidate and are based on a clinical scenario.
There are five answer options with only one single best answer. There is no negative marking.
Questions are drawn from the entire spectrum of acute cardiovascular care reflecting the Core Curriculum for the Acute Cardiac Care Cardiologist.
Exam date and delivery
The ACVC examination is usually delivered once a year, using an online proctoring platform (CYIM/ProctorU®).
This provides candidates with the safety and convenience of an online platform, while retaining the integrity and quality of an on-site supervised exam.
The online format of the ACVC exam is:
- accessible anywhere in the world
- taken on the candidate’s own device (computer only) and monitored by a human proctor online through ProctorU®
Please find more information here.
The ACVC exam is designed to test a wide range of acute cardiovascular care knowledge aligned with the Core Curriculum for the Acute Cardiac Care Cardiologist.
There is no single source from which all questions are developed, and candidates are encouraged to read widely, including but not limited to:
- The Core Curriculum for the Acute Cardiac Care Cardiologist
- Intensive and Acute Cardiovascular Care Textbook
- CoBaTrICE syllabus
The passing score of the exam is established using referenced methodologies, that are widely used in certification. The passing score links the score required to pass the exam to the minimum level of knowledge required for acute cardiovascular care practice.
Following the exam, a psychometric analysis of the questions is conducted and items that do not meet psychometric standards are removed from the exam. In addition, any items that have been flagged during the exam administration are reviewed and if these items are deemed to be defective for any reason they are removed from the exam.
Results are subjected to multiple levels of verification prior to being reported to candidates.
Examination results are communicated to candidates in the 8 weeks after the examination.
Candidates will receive an email containing their results letter on the date of results release. Successful candidates to the exam will also receive a certificate of completion of the written exam.
Results are also made available through a candidate’s My ESC account.
ESC/ACVC aims to deliver examinations of the highest quality and provide the best level of service for all candidates. To ensure that all candidates are assessed fairly, there is a procedure to allow candidates to appeal against their exam results.
Please find more information here.
Policies for online proctoring examinations
For more information, please refer to the ESC online proctoring examination terms & conditions.
Once candidates have passed the exam, they can then apply for the logbook part of the programme to prove their practical experience in the acute cardiovascular care field. No late submissions will be accepted and, if the deadline is not respected, the candidate will have to repeat the exam in order to apply for certification.
The ACVC logbook part of the programme is accessible to all successful candidates to the exam, provided they are:
- A medical doctor
- Certified by their National Health Authority in Cardiology
- A member of the Acute CardioVascular Care Association. If you are not a member yet, you can apply online
- Have a nominated ICCU/CICU Director to oversee their training during the certification process
The access to the logbook platform is granted to candidates only after having successfully passed the written exam.
Candidates are required to provide evidence of their clinical experience.
Candidates must provide the following documents:
- Cardiologist diploma/title (copy)
- Detailed Curriculum Vitae
- ICCU Director letter
- Procedures logbook
- Educational Training Record (ETR)
- ICCU Director confirmation letter
Not complying with the below regulations will result in the logbook being returned to the candidate for modification and as such, delay the grading process.
- The application must be submitted in English. Any document in local language must be accompanied by an English translation.
- The application must not include any patient data, in order to comply with GDPR regulations.
- The application must be submitted no later than two years after having received the exam results.
- Cases can be collected from 1 year before to 2 years after the written exam and can cover the full 36 months.
- Each patient may be present only once in the logbook. It is not allowed to add multiple studies of the same patient.
Candidates are not asked to submit the full reports, although they may be requested by the ACVC graders and ACVC certification committee. Thus, candidates are asked to keep this information available.
The candidate does not need to upload any documentation regarding the supervisor’s qualifications. The supervisor should be the person supervising the candidate’s work, possibly the person that taught the candidate how to perform the procedures and should be experienced in the field. The ICCU/CICU director needs to provide a letter of support and also sign off on the logbook, certifying the accuracy of the application content and that the candidate had done all the procedures listed in the logbook to the desired level of competency.
Level of competency
The certification programme requires candidates to achieve Level III competency in most procedures and Level II competency in a minority (Endotracheal Intubation, Mechanical Ventilation, Primary Angioplasty, Advanced Extracorporeal Support, Thoracic Ultrasound, and Chest Tube Insertion).
The levels of competencies are explained below:
- Level I: the experience of selecting the appropriate diagnostic or therapeutic modality and interpreting results or choosing an appropriate treatment. This level of competency does not include performing a technique, but participation in procedures during training may be valuable;
- Level II: goes beyond Level I. In addition to Level I requirements, the trainee should acquire practical experience but not as an independent operator. They should have assisted in or performed a particular technique or procedure under the guidance of a trainer. This level also applies to circumstances in which the trainee needs to acquire the skills to perform the technique independently, but only for routine indications in uncomplicated cases;
- Level III: goes beyond the requirements for Level I and Level II. The trainee must be able independently to recognise the indication, perform the technique or procedure, interpret the data and manage the complications, invasive and non-invasive.
At each stage of training, the candidate/trainee should undergo continuous assessment according to requirements at a local and national level. This may include DOPS (directly observed procedural skills), CBDs (case-based discussions), CEXs (clinical examination exercises), and MSF (multi-source feedback). The candidate/trainee should take responsibility for ensuring they are appropriately assessed throughout their training for the procedures documented in the procedural logbook, and that their logbook is countersigned by their local trainer/supervisor.
As soon as the logbook is compliant with the requirements, the application is sent for grading to members of the ACVC Certification Committee. Graders may require additional information from the candidate in order to provide their grading.
As soon as the logbook application is compliant with the requirements, results are sent by email within three months of submitting the e-Logbook. Please note that some delay in the grading can occur due to the high volume of applications received throughout the year.
Appealing the logbook
Candidates who fail to the logbook part may raise an appeal. Please find more information here.
There is a two-year window to complete the logbook part of the programme. In exceptional circumstances, candidates may request an extension to submit their application.
To ensure the process remains fair and robust, extensions will generally only be given in the following circumstances: parental leave, less than full-time work or illness of the candidate.
Extension requests must be accompanied by a signed letter from your supervisor briefly explaining the situation and stating the duration of the extension required. Requests cannot be considered without this letter. The request must be submitted before the deadline.
Please note that extension requests are not guaranteed and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the certification committee.
Use the “Contact Us” to submit such requests and further information.
Certification result and list of certified candidates
Candidates will be granted certification in acute cardiovascular care once they have completed the two parts of the programme (exam and logbook). The certification is valid for life.
The ACVC congratulates all ACVC Acute Cardiovascular Care Certified individuals.