2015 Annual Meeting Recap & Highlights

The Annual Meeting of the AVF is a unique opportunity to learn about the latest research results and innovative practical solutions from the very people who move forward the field of venous and lymphatic healthcare. World-renowned experts will participate in discussion panels, sharing their views and experiences while critically assessing recent developments in the field.

The 27th Annual Meeting opened on Wednesday morning with the David S. Sumner Venous Summit, presented by AVF President-Elect John Blebea, MD, MBA.  This post-graduate course addressed abroad range of important practical issues from the use of social media for marketing to accreditation of vein clinics, from financial aspects of venous practice to ensuring patient safety in office procedures.

The AVF President and President Elect, Fedor Lurie, MD, PhD and John  Blebea, MD, MBA, opened the first Scientific Session on chronic venous obstruction.  Session 1 had five oral abstract presentations and four quick-shot presentations. The afternoon continued with Scientific Session 2 on basic science, moderated by Joseph Raffetto, MD and Thomas Wakefield, MD.  Poster Presentations followed Scientific Session 2.  There were 22 posters presented during the poster session on Wednesday afternoon, which were eligible for the Best Poster Award.  Wednesday evening concluded with a Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall.

Thursday began with a welcome breakfast for all new AVF Members to get acquainted and meet the Board of Directors.  The day continued with Scientific Session 3 which focused on venous thromboembolism and IVC filters.  The morning continued with a demonstration of the VQI Varicose Vein Registry, sponsored by AVF and SVS, followed by the Best Paper Session.  The Best Paper Session featured two top abstracts from the European Venous Forum and one top abstract from the American College of Phlebology.  The Best Papers are reciprocated by the American Venous Forum through travel grant programs.  The AVF Best Paper award winner will present their research at the ACP Annual Meeting in November, and the two Servier Traveling Fellowship winners will present their work at the EVF Annual Meeting, to be held in Russia this summer.  The ACP Symposium featured lectures comparing various treatment modalities for recurrent varicose veins.

Program highlights of Thursday were the Villavicencio Symposium and the D. Eugene Strandness Memorial Lecture.  The Villavicencio Symposium was chaired by Lowell Kabnick, MD and Peter Lawrence, MD and was titled The Present and Future of Venous Health Care.  The Symposium covered the status of venous health care now and the future, the importance of venous accreditation, strategies for a National Determination Policy, understanding the physician reimbursement system and the RUC, and identifying criteria for the construction of the CMS Fee Schedule.

The D. Eugene Strandness Memorial Lecture is highly esteemed at the AVF Annual Meeting each year.  The keynote speaker is selected and invited by the AVF President.  For the 2015 Annual Meeting Strandness Lecture, President Fedor Lurie, MD, PhD selected Dr. Andrei Kindzelski, an NIH program director in the Division of Blood Diseases and Resources.

“From its creation till now one of the AVF’s primary objectives was clinical and basic science research.   Recent development in healthcare system in the US made the need for high quality research increasingly urgent. The gaps in evidence put practitioners at disadvantage when payers change the boundaries of medical necessity. Current concepts in basic physiology of veins and lymphatics hinder innovation and development of new diagnostic tests and treatments. The funds that are needed to properly address these challenges are scarce. However, even those funding opportunities that are available are grossly underutilized by venous community. This is why the dialog with the NIH, the major funding resource for medical research is necessary.

Among the key NIH medical officers, Dr. Kindzelski is probably the most knowledgeable in the area of venous and lymphatic disorders. His background in hematology, thrombosis and basic science, his personal involvement with all major NIH-sponsored trials in vascular surgery and medicine, his administrative experience of organizing and guiding investigators to a successful funded clinical, translational, and basic research made him a perfect match to our goal of increasing research productivity of the AVF members.

I believe that we made the right choice by inviting him as the Strandness Memorial Lecture speaker. He not only provided our members with the overview and insights into the NIH practices, but also learned a great deal about the AVF, our impressive track record of groundbreaking research, and the highest quality of our members. --Fedor Lurie, MD, PhD

Each year the AVF Annual Meeting features The Venous Open golf outing. The Venous Open is organized by the volunteers of the American Venous Forum Foundation and is dedicated to raising awareness of venous and lymphatic disease. Your participation and support will help advance the mission of the American Venous Forum Foundation by funding pioneering research, medical education and awareness through the initiatives of the America Venous Forum.  The golfers played on the Pete Dye Championship Course and had the opportunity to meet Pro Golfer Amy Alcott, a member of the LGPA and World Golf Halls of Fame, for a “Beat the Pro” contest.

After a relaxing Thursday afternoon enjoying beautiful Palm Springs, the attendees were back to business on Friday morning.  Friday opened with the first set of Specialty Symposia.  Four concurrent programs allowed attendees to customize their learning experience with topics on Biomechanics & Bioengineering, Wound Care, Lymphedema & Compression, Deep Venous Disease, and Vascular Medicine & Thrombosis.  Scientific Session 4 abstracts were focused on compression, wound care, and lymphedema.

The President’s Session on Friday morning included reports from 2014 award winners and updates on a variety of AVF initiatives.  Rafael Malgor, MD and Adam Ring, MD gave presentations on their experiences traveling to Paris to present their winning research at the European Venous Forum Annual Meeting, which was supported through the AVF Foundation’s Servier Traveling Fellowship.  Dr. Harry Ma gave a report on his BSN Jobst Research Grant project, which is focused on testing compression stockings.  Foundation President, Peter Pappas, MD gave an update on the work of the AVF Foundation.  Dr. Marc Passman presented about the recently published Venous Ulcer Guidelines, which was a collaborative effort between AVF and SVS.  Dr. Jack Cronenwett spoke about the Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI), a collaborative registry project of AVF and SVS, and Dr. Bruce Perler spoke about the Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders.  President-Elect John Blebea, MD, MBA gave the Presidential Address Introduction, followed by the Presidential Address given by Fedor Lurie, MD, PhD. 

Friday afternoon began with Scientific Session 5 on superficial venous disease and the second set of Specialty Symposia.  The second round of concurrent Symposia included an Allied Health Session, Superficial Venous Disease, Animal Models in Venous Research, and a second session on Wound Care, Lymphedema and Compression.  The last session was Scientific Session 6 on diagnostic testing and imaging.

On Friday evening, AVF and the Foundation partnered to host the Forum Finale.  This evening event featured an exclusive silent auction and lively a fundraiser game, cocktails and dinner, and various presentations.  Peter Pappas, MD, the Foundation President, gave a presentation about the history of the relationship between AVF and Servier and the Servier traveling Fellowship Award.  Dr. Pappas then presented on the history between AVF and BSN Medical, and the BSN Jobst Research Grant program.  The BSN Jobst Grant was increased from a one-year, $50,000 grant to a two-year, $100,000 grant.  AVF received a record number of highly qualified applicants for the 2015 Grant. The Foundation played a video about the BSN Jobst Research Grant, which included interviews with past grant winners.  After the video, Dr. Pappas presented a beautiful service award to Roberto Muñoz, President North America of BSN medical, Inc.  Dr. Pappas then gave a summary of the Foundation fundraising events that were held at the Annual Meeting.

After guests enjoyed dinner and desserts, AVF President Fedor Lurie, MD, PhD rose to conduct the awards ceremony. The winner of the Best Paper Award was Brahman Dharmarajah, MRCS for an abstract titled “Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound for Thrombus Dissolution In an In-vitro Model Of Acute Deep Vein Thrombosis”.  The AVF Best Paper winner will have the opportunity to present their work at the Annual Congress of the ACP.  The Best Poster Award was presented to Maxim Shaydakov, MD, PhD for his poster on The Incidence of Primary Venous Insufficiency in Patients With Deep Venous Thrombosis: A Prospective Study.  Each year two of the top abstracts from Fellows are selected to win the Servier Traveling Fellowship to attend the European Venous Forum Annual Meeting and present their research.  The 2015 Servier winners were Georgios Spentzouris, MD (Stony Brook University Hospital) and Nathan Liang, MD( University of Pittsburgh).

"Thanks to the committee members of the AVF, it is truly an honor to be a recipient of the Servier Traveling Fellowship Award. Rarely do opportunities to present research at an international level come, and I look forward to presenting our group's findings on treatments of iliofemoral venous thrombosis at the European Venous Forum in Russia this year.“ – Georgios Spentzouris, MD

“I’m honored to be a recipient of this year’s Servier traveling fellowship. My goal in accepting this award is to stimulate interest in pulmonary embolism interventions amongst vascular specialists, as research in this area continues to lag despite the increasing volume of procedures. I look forward to traveling to St. Petersburg and learning from our colleagues in Europe.” – Nathan Liang, MD

The winner of the 2015 BSN Josbt Research Grant was Andrew Kimball, MD from the University of Michigan, under mentorship of Past AVF President Peter Henke, MD.  Dr. Kimball’s research proposal, Macrophage Phenotypes and their Effects on Venous Thrombosis Resolution and the Development of Post-Thrombotic Syndrome, will receive funding from the AVF Foundation BSN Jobst Research Grant in 2015 and 2016, and we look forward to hearing about the progress of this important research.

Thank you to all who joined us at the 2015 Annual Meeting. We hope to see you next year, February 24-26, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.


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