International Vein Congress Delivers Cutting-Edge Content for 13 Years Straight

In its 13th year, the International Vein Congress (IVC) brought together more than 700 attendees representing 21 countries. Across the three-day event, an internationally-renowned faculty, including Course Director, Jose I. Almeida, MD, FACS, RPVI, RVT, and Co-Directors, Edward G. Mackay, MD, FACS, RPVI, RVT and Lowell S. Kabnick, MD, RPhS, FACS, delivered cutting-edge content on topics such as clinical applications for vein removal and treatment, evidence-based guidelines, venous governance, and practice management.

IVC was born in 2003 as a way to educate vascular surgeons about the advantages of office-based venous surgery over traditional treatment for varicose veins. In this time, the international interest in venous disease has increased, compelling practitioners and industry experts alike to stay on the forefront of issues and technologies involving the venous system. This journey that professionals in the field have taken was highlighted by keynote speaker, Thomas W. Wakefield, MD. Venous Basic Science Translated into Clinical Practice: What is the Process? Can It Be Expedited? explored moving basic concepts in treating thrombosis out of the laboratory and translating them into practice.

IVC Main Event

Diagnostics took center stage on Thursday morning as faculty discussed visual examination, documentation, and ultrasound proficiency. Jan Sloves, RVT, RCS, FASE, discussed the role that venous duplex mapping plays in patient documentation and encouraged attendees to become proficient with ultrasound scanning. Anatomical variation adds to the complexity of mapping; therefore, Sloves and Almeida outlined key recommendations to be considered when conducting an exam. Be cognizant of patient positioning, time of day (as heat and temperature effect reflux patterns), and be observant for any signs that further testing might be needed. “After you’ve done your drawings and sketches, you have to scan the patient yourself,” said Almeida. “If you’re going to work on veins, you have to do the scans yourself. You have to know the anatomy. You must connect the reflux source with the pathology.”

Standardization and accreditation were running themes throughout many of the presentations at this year’s conference. Alan Dietzik, MD opened these discussions by looking at the distinctions between how guidelines and standards effect patient management. Massachusetts now leads the pack as the first state to require Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) Vein Center Accreditation. IAC was launched in November 2014 to standardize superficial venous evaluation and management by setting the minimum of 16 images of documentation. Standards such as this establish necessary training qualification across specialties and create a measurement and recording of outcomes that eventually benefit the patient.

Strategies for a national determination policy that simplifies physician reimbursement and how healthcare providers and insurance carriers need to work together to achieve optimal venous care were also discussed.

Friday afternoon, attendees had the unique opportunity of viewing live cases streamed into the conference hall from the Miami Vein Center. Moderated by Steve Elias, MD, the live cases were performed by Dr. Almeida and Dr. Mackay included superficial venous ultrasound, RF ablation, phlebectomy, and ClariVein mechanico-chemical ablation. During these sessions, attendees shared in the experience of being in the operating room by viewing video, ultrasound, fluoroscopic, and IVUS images. The interactive session allowed attendees to communicate with the operators at Miami Vein Center and ask questions throughout the case presentations. The cases that were presented were chosen very carefully to ensure sure that repeat attendees had a continued learning experience. This year, cases allowed for lower extremity venography, balloon venoplasty, stenting, and thermal energy delivery with either radiofrequency or laser.

IVF Exhibit/Attendee Interaction

Interaction is an integral part of the learning model set forth during IVC, which was capped off on Saturday with the V2 Symposium. Audience members were encouraged throughout the three days to submit questions for the panelists to address during the V2 symposium. The questions covered a wide range of topics that were either presented at the conference or were completely original. Some of the highlights from this year’s session were management of saphenous reflux, deep vein obstruction, lymphedema, thrombosis, as well as inequities of the insurance coverage.

During this year’s meeting, Dr. Almeida also announced the re-launch of VeinGlobal, Innovation & Exploration in Venous Interventions. This website is dedicated to keeping venous practitioners engaged year round in furthering their education on the aspects of innovative venous interventions. “Teaming up with IVC goes well beyond managing an exciting annual conference, said Almeida. Our intent is to take the energy and experience surrounding this global meeting and harness it into a vehicle that will deliver conference-quality content 365 days a year.”

The mission of the VeinGlobal portal website is to be the preeminent source for the latest advances in treating venous disease. Already a leader in the movement to educate venous practitioners and vascular device manufacturers, VeinGlobal is being redesigned to better align with its mission and bring a more focused approach to educational content. VeinGlobal will deliver up-to-the minute content on innovations and exploration in venous interventions through articles, pearls, clinical videos, case studies, and more on topic areas such as anatomy and pathophysiology, imaging, deep venous disease, and superficial venous disease.