This past June, more than 50 venous disease treatment specialists gathered at Englewood Hospital in Englewood, NJ, for the fifth annual Expert Venous Management (EVM) course. EVM was started five years ago from a concept that the field had already been teaching the basics of vein disease treatment for a number of years. There were people who already had experience, and the course directors wanted to elevate that experience to the next level by focusing on people who have been dealing with difficult cases, cases they didn't know how to handle. EVM was born of this idea and is intended to be a conversation between physicians and others who were already treating vein disease.
The course is directed by Drs. Steve Elias, Antonios Gasparis, and Nicoss Labropoulos. It is a non-CME activity, and in continuing the theme of a non-traditional meeting, EVM allows industry to fully participate in the interactive discussions.
“It was very important that the format of the meeting be informal and interactive, and involve not just the physicians treating vein disease, but the industry that's dealing with vein disease as well—that either makes products that treat vein disease, or a technology that treats vein disease. We created the meeting in a way that all of us who take care of vein disease can interact together in a very casual atmosphere,” said course director Dr. Steve Elias.
EVM: same location, new venue
This year's meeting was at a new venue within Englewood Hospital. The course directors also invited a number of experts to be part of not the faculty, but part of the attendees. “We've tried to elevate the types of attendees that are coming to the meeting to engage others in the discussion about vein disease,” Dr. Elias said.
In fact, attendees agree: “It's a unique format. It was mostly cases—or pretty much only cases—that discussed vein disease in a very collegial way, but with a free expression of differences and opinions,” said Dr. Fedor Lurie of Jobst Vascular Institute in Toledo, Ohio. “It is very nice to have that opportunity to ask the questions to people who have experience in their particular areas and get a straightforward answer on what they do, how they do things, and what evidence can support those decisions, which is most frequently lacking,” he added. “Having that format is very helpful in many ways. I think it is helpful for practitioners to make more informed decisions in the difficult cases. I think it’s helpful for those who are in research to define more acute and important questions. I think it is helpful for us to understand the entire field more.”
Others attest to the uniqueness of the format: “Most meetings are very structured—we go and we listen to a lot of lectures and a lot of pre-prepared material. Here, almost everything has been off-the-cuff, interactive, and very free-flowing,” said Dr. Thom Rooke of Mayo Clinic. “I don't often learn much when I go to a meeting, but this is probably the most I've learned in a single day in a meeting ever, so I've got to say I'm very impressed with what's been going on here. I'm very happy that I came.”
Live ultrasound exhibits
One of the biggest interactions and learning experiences during the Expert Venous Management meeting is really the live ultrasound cases—cases that have either been done and haven't gone right, or cases that haven't been done that remain enigmas. By seeing the ultrasound and by speaking to the patient, the attendees and the faculty can interact and share ideas about how to take care of the patient. That's one of the unique things about EVM. As attendee Maria Urso of BTG International points out, “a lot of times when it comes to when we learn the most, it's not when we have all the answers in front of us and someone's delivering a perfect package presentation, it's when you pour over the missing holes—where we need to figure out what went wrong or how we could treat someone better.”
Dr. Rooke would agree: “What's unique about this is that we're actually seeing real cases and we're dealing with them in real time, and no two cases are going to be exactly alike,” he said. “People are asking our input, they're asking us to contribute, and they in turn are doing the same thing. I'm hearing some novel thoughts from some of the best experts in the field right now," he added.
"Having that format is very helpful in many ways. I think it is helpful for practitioners to make more informed decisions in the difficult cases. I think it's helpful for those who are in research to define more acute and important questions. I think it is helpful for us to understand the entire filed more," Dr. Lurie added.
Next year’s day-and-a-half course will be held June 9-10. As always, the meeting promises no formal lectures, no didactic talks, and no jackets or ties. “When people are sitting around with a shirt, tie, jacket, it's not the same as hanging out in jeans and a t-shirt or a casual shirt. We want people to feel comfortable, and we want people to be able to speak with each other. That's one unique thing about the meeting,” said Steve Elias.
Registration now open. Click here for more info.
To see a case presented at the 2016 EVM, see "Inferior Vena Cava Clip Recanalization: A Case Study.”