Selecting topics for postgraduate courses, concurrent and breakfast sessions, and “Ask the Experts” presentations at the Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) is a careful, considered process, Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) program organizers tell Vascular Connections.
“We make a very conscious effort to identify and cover as many of the current important clinical topics as possible. A huge part of this is being responsive to feedback from the SVS members,” said William Robinson, MD, vice chair of the SVS Postgraduate Education Committee. This committee, currently chaired by Vikram Kashyap, MD, selects presentations for the educational sessions outside of the abstract-based plenaries. This year, that roundup includes six breakfast sessions, with three to choose from on both Friday and Saturday; six “Ask the Expert” sessions, from Wednesday through Friday afternoons; six concurrent sessions, Wednesday through Saturday afternoons; and three postgraduate education courses, Thursday through Saturday afternoons.
Beyond clinical topics, however, the committee also needs to address “the most pertinent issues related to practice management, wellness, advocacy and education—a broad range of topics that are applicable to the entire SVS membership,” said Robinson. “We want the program to be balanced between cutting-edge clinical topics and the newest information to help people manage their practices and work environments.” Thus, he said, half of the “Ask the Expert” and half the concurrent sessions focus on work environment.
Subjects such as the digital transformation of healthcare, how to define and articulate a vascular surgeon’s value to institutions, leadership, and the occupational hazards vascular surgeons face don’t address the management of vascular disease per se, Robinson said. “But they’re vitally important just the same. Our surgeons and other SVS members have an increasing need for information when it comes to practice management issues, and we want to as address those needs as best we can.” Of course, clinical topics remain front and center, as highlighted by the three postgraduate courses being offered at VAM 2021.
With rapid development in both the understanding of the disease process and vascular surgeons’ use of current treatment options, organizers expect a lot of interest in this course. “We have an understanding of how to better manage patients with uncomplicated acute dissection in order to prevent aneurysmal complications from dissection down the road, he said. “And we are learning to do these repairs more safely, whether they need to be done urgently or emergently.”
The SVS, with The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), updated the reporting standards for type B aortic dissection in 2020, adding importance to the presentation of current thinking on the topic, he said.
Pediatric vascular care
It has been at least five years since the SVS addressed pediatric vascular care at VAM. “These cases are often a bit more difficult for many vascular surgeons, because vascular issues in pediatric patients are relatively uncommon in many practices, and because it’s a child. It’s extremely important we revisit this topic and that all have up-to-date knowledge on appropriate management,” said Robinson.
Pediatric disease involves a much different pathology— no atherosclerosis and a lifetime of comorbidities—than in patients of advanced age, he said. Vascular disease in children tends to be related to iatrogenic injury, trauma, sports, congenital issues and the complications of critically ill states, he said. The course will focus on providing appropriate care, or referring the patient to a center that offers that appropriate care.
The session delving into what is safe and reasonable in the community hospital setting with regards to emergency vascular care will be “extremely valuable for all of our constituents,” said Robinson.
The course will highlight the most current management and help surgeons identify what extent of care can be provided in different environments, depending on the resources available.
Other than the breakfast sessions, the Postgraduate Education Committee content has been scheduled for the afternoon and will not conflict with the morning plenary programming or the invited lectures.