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Emerging picture: VAM 2021 line-up shaping up into blockbuster event

By Beth Bales

The moving pieces that comprise the 2021 Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM), set to take place Aug. 18–21, are being assembled into a blockbuster whole.

Though plenary sessions have yet to be structured, all of the invited sessions—“Ask the Experts,” breakfast and concurrent sessions, as well as postgraduate courses—are mapped out.

The goal for the invited sessions is, as always, “to have the most compelling and timely information for our SVS members,” said Vikram Kashyap, MD, chair of the SVS Postgraduate Education Committee, which puts together the invited sessions.

“We want to make sure we’re getting information to them to help them—on a daily basis—in their practices and with their patients.”

Most exciting, said SVS Program Committee co-chair Andres Schanzer, MD, “The outstanding postgraduate courses will be featured over the entire meeting, Wednesday through Saturday, and not solely on Wednesday, as in the past.”

This year presented a challenge in considering not only those sessions suggested for 2021, but also those that had been slated to be part of the canceled 2020 meeting in Toronto. The committee met this task successfully, he said, and the result is “a blockbuster setup of didactics.”

The agenda includes a postgraduate session on pediatric vascular surgery, probably the first such session in nearly a decade. Another postgraduate course, on vascular emergencies in community hospitals, “is very relevant to our members in non-academic centers. What patients do I take care of and who do I get to another center?”

New guidelines on aortic dissection will be highlighted at the third postgraduate session, important because “all of us are seeing more dissection patients with its greater recognition as a cause of cardiovascular symptoms,” said Kashyap.

The 2021 VAM also will include a number of collaborative programs, including one with the Society for Vascular Ultrasound. “We’ll have technologists and surgeons together in one room presenting both the ultrasound images and clinical issues of common vascular problems. I think that’s critical to getting a holistic view,” Kashyap added.

The session presented in collaboration with the American Venous Forum, meanwhile, will include “the stars of venous disease on the podium.” The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is collaborating with SVS on the Aortic Summit, to be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

Ask the Experts returns for its fourth year, after debuting to great popularity and overflow crowds in Boston in 2018.

Topics include:

  • “Explanting endografts: When, why, how?,” 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday
  • “Positioning vascular surgeons for success as community leaders in vascular disease,” including defining and demonstrating vascular surgeons’ value; branding; and succeeding in a competitive market, 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday
  • “Quality reporting for a payment world, case studies and best practices,” including federal quality programs such as the Medicare Access and CHIP [Children’s Health Insurance Program] Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and the Quality Payment Program (QPP); the Alternative Payment Model system and its benefits, with case experiences; 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday
  •  “Occupational hazards to the vascular surgeon,” including radiation safety, risks to pregnant surgeons, and ergonomic challenges, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday
  • “Mesenteric artery revascularization,” including pre-procedural decision making and selecting the appropriate treatment option for both acute and chronic revascularization; and intraoperative challenges and algorithms for treating both chronic and acute mesenteric artery ischemia; 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday
  • “Clinical trials,” covering experiences with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), obtaining external funding and both getting a trial off the ground and running it, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday

Breakfast sessions are held from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. (Industrysponsored sessions occur in that same timeframe on Thursday.)

Friday, 6:30 to 8 a.m.

  • “Wound complications and management in vascular surgery,” including laparotomy closure techniques; using abdominal wall meshes for prophylaxis against incisional hernias; closure techniques of groin incisions; adjusting to prevent or manage groin wound complications; and fasciotomy closure techniques
  • “Lessons learned from vascular leaders at all levels,” including multidisciplinary teams; recruiting strategies; a dean’s perspective; and the view from the top
  • “Last-ditch effort at limb salvage: How to manage what seems unsalvageable,” intended to help vascular surgeons manage patients at the edge of the mainstream with options to limb amputation Saturday, 6:30 to 8 a.m.
  • “Malpractice 101,” including malpractice issues every beginning vascular surgeon should know; geographic variances in lawsuits; and documentation pitfalls
  • “Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative [KDOQI],” including its guidelines development; vascular access; flow-related dysfunction; and nonflow-related dysfunction.
  • “Career optimization tips and tricks for young surgeons,” with the top five tips to: success in the first three years after training in both the academic and private practice settings; sustained success in both settings; and longevity in vascular surgery with a focus on wellness, mentorship and camaraderie

A total of six Concurrent Sessions are planned for 2021.

Concurrent sessions

  • “Evolution and transformation of the [Journal of Vascular Surgery] JVS journals,” including the current status of JVS and future directions in medical publishing; diversity, equity and inclusion issues in scientific journals; the “why” of the new JVS-Vascular Science; reporting standards, guidelines and appropriate use criteria; registry papers; and COVID-19 and vascular disease in the JVS, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday
  • “Complication management,” covering 10 situations, such as steal syndrome and dialysis access; superficial venous interventions; carotid endarterectomy; transcarotid revascularization; and abdominal aortic aneurysms, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
  • “Value of a vascular surgeon,” including organizing a service line; the clinical and financial impact as well as that of the office-based lab on the healthcare system; strategic planning; and negotiating with the C-suite, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Thursday
  • “Back to the future: Patient selection and techniques in open infrainguinal revascularization,” including choosing procedures based on the new Global Vascular Guidelines; arterial anatomy; in situ vs. reversed vs. nonreversed transposed bypass; alternatives when the ipsilateral greater saphenous vein is not available; antiplatelet and anti-thrombotics after bypass; isolated and concomitant revascularization of common femoral and profunda femoris arteries; and venous arterialization for limb salvage; 1:30 to 3 p.m. Friday
  • “New solutions for old problems in vascular ultrasound,” in collaboration with the Society for Vascular Ultrasound, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Topics include balloon-assisted maturation procedures; carotid stenting; iliac vein stenting; peripheral artery angioplasty, and stenting and pedal access
  • “Digital transformation,” discussing changes in telemedicine and its place in the medical world today, 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday

Postgraduate classes

  • “Clinical update in the management of aortic dissections,” which includes an update on the following: SVS Reporting Standards for aortic dissection; uncomplicated and complicated acute aortic dissection; complicated type A dissection and dealing with visceral/ limb malperfusion in acute aortic dissection, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday
  • “Pediatric vascular care,” including venous thromboembolism; congenital vascular anomalies; arteriovenous access (AV) access in children; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) cannulation and perfusion consideration in neonates, infants and children; pediatric renovascular hypertension and arterial aneurysms; sports-related deep vein thrombosis/ compressive syndrome in children; iatrogenic femoral arterial aortic injuries; management of pediatric aortic injury; and current pediatric vascular surgery practice patterns and the role for cross-disciplinary team training, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday
  • “Emergency vascular care in the community hospital: What is safe and reasonable,” exploring questions of treatment versus transferring and handling various injuries in a community hospital, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday

Other sessions

  • “Bringing what’s new in venous to you!,” which is a collaboration with the American Venous Forum (AVF). The session includes “virtual venous education” in 2021, updates on CEAP classifications, and a series of tips and tricks for venous stenting, 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday
  • The Aortic Summit, in collaboration with the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday

Wednesday is the new Thursday

Those planning to attend the 2021 Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) in August need to keep in mind that the conference's structure has changed.

POSTGRADUATE CONTENT previously presented only on Wednesday is now dispersed throughout the meeting. And Wednesday is the new Thursday.

Organizers have moved the Opening Ceremony, the E. Stanley Crawford Critical Issues and William J. von Liebig forums, as well as the first plenary sessions, from Thursday to Wednesday.

“This really changes how one approaches the VAM, with content now equally spread out from Wednesday to Saturday,” according to Vikram Kashyap, MD, chair of the SVS Postgraduate Education Committee, which plans the postgraduate courses and the “Ask the Expert,” concurrent and breakfast sessions.

VAM opens at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday with the Opening Ceremony. The final postgraduate session and Poster Championship both end at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, while the Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) review course and final concurrent session both end at 5 p.m. Saturday.

And to permit attendees to attend as many sessions as possible, the plenaries are being presented in the mornings, with no competing sessions. “The whole audience can come into one room and listen to the best science we have to offer,” said Kashyap.

Afternoons, meanwhile, will present no more than three concurrent programs, to avoid overwhelming the audience with too many choices, as well as providing the ability to attend as many programs as possible.

“This new format comes in direct response to consistent member feedback requesting a solid morning of plenary programming every day, with all members together,” said Program Committee co-chair Andres Schanzer, MD.

The Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI) will once again hold its annual meeting on Tuesday afternoon (12 to 6:30 p.m.) and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Society for Vascular Nursing, as is its custom, will hold its annual conference from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

The Society for Vascular Ultrasound will also hold its annual meeting in partnership with VAM for the first time in many years, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. For more information on VAM visit vascular.org/VAM.