Message from the President
By: John Blebea MD, MBA - AVF President
The past six months have been wonderfully productive for our society and members. We have begun implementation of our strategic goals and it has been inspiring the degree to which everyone has come forth with additional ideas and suggestions. Allow me to review some of the things that we have done and our on-going efforts.
Clinical Practice Guidelines
Led by Dr. Joseph Raffetto of Boston, a Clinical Guidelines Committee and writing groups have been established. A major part of the early work was prioritizing the areas for which guidelines should be written and then selecting members for each of the writing groups. This was no easy task as we had a large and talented group of members who volunteered to participate! After several weeks of deliberation, the following writing groups have been established:
- Animal models for deep vein thrombosis research – Jose Diaz MD, Chair
- Compression therapy for CEAP 5 or lower venous disease – Fedor Lurie MD, PhD, Chair
- Post ablation thrombosis (EHIT) classification and treatment – Lowell Kabnick MD, Chair
- Duplex ultrasound surveillance after venous interventions – Nicos Labropoulos PhD, Chair
Guidelines have been provided to the writing groups and their work has begun. We look forward to having one or two of the guidelines completed before our next annual meeting.
Website Upgrade, Educational Videos and VTE Screening
The Website and Venous Screening Committees have been hard at work on plans to substantially upgrade the functionality and user-friendliness of our website. Created in 2011, the website needs to be updated to allow a more responsive design so that it is fully functional on handheld devices, such as smart phones and tablets.
We were most fortunate to successfully apply for and obtain an educational grant from the Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation for $100,000. Part of this grant will be used to produce a series of Educational Videos by experienced educators and clinicians on VTE risk, prevention and treatment options. Each one of these will be approximately 3-5 minutes in length and will thereafter be placed on the AVF patient website and on YouTube. The videos will be professionally recorded at the next Annual Meeting in Orlando in 2016. For members interested in participating in this effort and to help create these videos, please email us or Website chair Dr. Kellie Brown.
The AVF National Venous Screening program developed an excellent set of protocols which are now available to all our members on website. As part of that program, a DVT self-assessment questionnaire was also defined. A part of the Bristol-Meyers Squibb grant will be used by Dr. Rabih Chaer and his Screening Committee to develop a more patient friendly VTE self-assessment tool both for the web and as a free mobile app. If anyone has app development skills, please contact us!
Layman’s Handbook of Venous Disease
Publishing a medical textbook is an expensive undertaking and rarely produces a profit. Preparing to publish such a book for the lay public is even more challenging. One of our strategic goals was to publish a layman’s version of the 4th Edition of the AVF Handbook of Venous Disease now being edited under the leadership of former AVF president Peter Gloviczki MD. With the receipt of the Bristol-Meyers Squibb grant, we are now able to proceed with plans for this Handbook. The next step will be to select an editor – thank you to everyone that have already submitted their resumes and expressed an interest in this initiative.
Multicenter Clinical Trial on Compression
Many of us were surprised that the recently-published SOX trial of patients with a first time iliofemoral DVT showed no difference in post-thrombotic symptoms or associated quality of life between those wearing and not wearing compression stockings. There were a number of limitations to the study, including the definition of the primary endpoints, compliance with compression therapy, and lack of appropriate and professional fitting of the stockings. New and available technology, particularly laser leg measurements and under-hose pressure recordings, now provide the opportunity to improve upon this original study. The AVF has therefore undertaken to initiate a multi-center prospective clinical study to evaluate the clinical usefulness of compression therapy after DVT. After a national search, Fedor Lurie MD PhD and B.K. Lal MD PhD have been selected as the national principal investigators of this study for which NIH funding will be pursued. They are now in the process of selecting members for the needed steering and management committees. Stay tuned for more information as the protocol is being written.
The AVF has been blessed, from the very beginning, by the broad international participation at the annual meeting and having members from many other countries. Venous and lymphatic disease is a world-wide problem and everyone stands to gain by sharing our clinical experience and practice methodologies. In recognition of this, we have this year established an International Committee with members of seven different nations under the chairmanship of Dr. Patrick Muck. At our next annual meeting, we will be having an International Session of presenters. In addition, we will be continuing to expand our collaborative exchanges with other international societies and meetings. We are fortunate that most of these use English as the international language for the scientific sessions!
Blue News Now, under the editorship of Dr. Steve Elias, has done a fantastic service in providing our AVF members with society news and interesting case reports. We are now actively exploring, however, ways to take advantage of modern technology to significantly increase the scope and appearance of this email service by developing an expanded and web-based electronic newspaper. The Board of Directors will be reviewing several options at our next meeting with the goal of having this available in time for our next annual meeting. Keep an eye out in your inboxes for a call for contributors and editorial board members.
Thank you to all of you for your continuing support and all of the great work that you are doing for our society!
John Blebea MD MBA