Coastal Vein & Vascular has long been known for their dedication to broadening their knowledge of the latest techniques and procedures in the treatment of vascular disease. To that end, CVV’s own Dr. James Chalk recently returned from the annual meeting of the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery.
The Southern Association for Vascular Surgery, founded in 1976, is one of the premiere regional associations for vascular fellows. Each year they hold an annual conference for the presentation of original research in the field of vascular surgery. Increasingly the focus has been on expanding endovascular therapies which provide patients with minimally invasive options for the management of vascular disease.
This year the focus was on dialysis, though participants presented on a wide array of topics. Of particular interest was the Founder’s Award paper on the efficacy of Intravascular Ultrasound during Carotid Artery Stent-Angioplasty.
Stenting and angioplasty are two procedures used in the treatment of carotid artery disease. Patients who suffer from carotid artery disease have a build up of plaque within their arteries which blocks blood flow. As the carotid artery supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain, a moderate to severe blockage can be extremely detrimental to one’s overall health and may even result in stroke and/or death.
Stenting and angioplasty are procedures which remove the blockages through either a permanent mesh device implanted in the artery (stent) or by temporarily inflating a balloon inside the artery (angioplasty).
While they are ultimately different procedures (and only a vascular surgeon will be able to determine which is more appropriate given the progression of the carotid artery disease), they both require that the surgeon be able to adequately visualize the blockage caused by the build up of plaque. The Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is a relatively new option for surgeons and thus the paper and research presented at the conference was on the statistical improvement of treatment when the IVUS was used.
While new devices and procedures are developed every day, it takes an experienced and well educated surgeon to discern whether “new” necessarily means “better”. As such, the surgeons and staff of Coastal Vein & Vascular value the opportunities to hear from and speak to the researchers themselves at conferences such as the Southern Association of Vascular Surgery meeting.