NCVH is a “must-attend” conference. In addition to SICP’s signature RCIS review, NCVH provides many excellent educational opportunities and challenging live cases with panel discussion. The types of cases and presentations are as varied as our patients in the lab these days. Catheterization labs at many hospitals have become a “full-service, head-to-toe” department, performing a variety of coronary, structural heart and endovascular procedures. The team behind NCVH understands the need for comprehensive seminars, adding a full dose of their southern charm and hospitality, not to mention New Orleans jazz. You can understand why the SICP enjoys being part of NCVH year after year!
NCVH conference co-chair Dr. David Allie is a master educator, explaining why physicians have to be aggressive in treating patients with critical limb ischemia and chronic total occlusions in the lower extremities. The cost of not aggressively managing peripheral atherosclerotic disease (PAD) is amputation. It is hard to see the amount of pain our patients live with day after day and the number of needless amputations performed each year.
Live cases are both challenging and educational at NCVH. New technology, used in conjunction with older technology such as plain old balloon angioplasty, brings percutaneous interventions to new levels. NCVH spotlighted the use of new laser technology combined with cryoplasty to open and create larger channels within the most stubborn stenoses in the legs. The use of these new technologies do not come without a price tag, but to the patient with critical limb ischemia, saving their leg may be worth all the gold in Fort Knox.
NCVH was not limited to the legs; treatment of carotids, abdominal vessels, renals and venous disease were also spotlighted. State-of-the-art computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging were also highlighted. Integrating these alternative imaging modalities into daily practice gives additional clinical information to plan the procedure, one of the most beautiful components of this technology. It is difficult to be in the room and be told that the stent or balloon or whatever is necessary to finish the case is not available. The patient suffers, the hospital suffers, the team suffers. All could have been avoided if there were good pictures prior to the sticking of the artery.
On a lighter side, there was a point and counterpoint session between two pioneers and legends in cardiovascular medicine. Dr. Julio Palmaz, the man who brought us the first endovascular stent for coronary use in the United States, discussed the scientific aspects behind cardiac benefits of red wine consumption. His counter was Dr. Thomas Fogarty, of the Fogarty balloon, with his take on the benefits of good red wine (and why his private label was much superior to that of Dr. Palmaz). Both ultimately agreed on the point that good wine is healthy for you. Many participants and faculty tested these theories later, as the conference was within walking distance of Bourbon Street.
The SICP faculty members for the RCIS review were Kenneth Gorski, RN, RCIS, FSICP, from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Marsha Holton, RN, RCIS, FSICP, from Cardiovascular Orientations Program (Indian Head, MD), and Darren Powell, RCIS, FSICP, from Spokane Community College in Spokane, Washington. Ken is currently the Chairman of the SICP Standards Committee, and Darren is the Chairman for the Education Committee. Like others from the SICP, they volunteer their time to help allied health professionals prepare for the RCIS exam, administered by Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI).
Approximately 100 participants from all over the country attended the SICP RCIS review course. These attendees are to be commended for their hard work in preparing to sit for the registry exam. The RCIS credential becomes more important every day. Future federal legislation (such as the CARE bill) may tie reimbursement for Medicare patients to documented competency and credentials of catheterization lab personnel. The RCIS credential is recognized within the CARE bill.
The RCIS review course was only a part of the symposium specifically geared toward nurses and technologists. Chris Herbert and the NCVH coordinators put together in the Horizons Cath Lab Tech and Nurse Symposium, another wonderful day of sessions. The moderators, Lynne Jones from Tomball Hospital in Texas (SICP Immediate Past President), Chris Nelson from Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Virginia (President-elect, CCI), and Gary Chaisson from the Cardiology Institute of the South in Louisiana kept the day moving.
Highlights included Georgann Bruski, RT(R), CRT, ARRT from Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston discussing “the circle of life.” Georgann began her career in vascular surgery before joining the catheterization laboratory and just fitted an angio suite in the OR. She shared images showing the landscape and placement of the equipment to meet today’s standards. This was one of the topics that directly addressed the changing world of cath lab staff. The cardiovascular staff is now the invasive staff, learning and providing all procedures to all patients, so we must keep up with the technology, the requirements for care and even basic anatomy reviews. Other speakers included Vicki Hollingsworth-Schuler, Director, Heart and Vascular Services, from William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan, Tom Maloney, MS, RCIS from Memorial Regional Hospital in Pennsylvania, and Glenn Martin, RT(R)(CV) from Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma, LA. Physicians also presented during the nurse and technologist session. This day alone is worth coming to the conference, and when you add the other scientific sessions and the RCIS review course, the overall educational experience is an excellent way to spend a few days. Save the date for next year: NCVH will be held September 10-13, 2008, for the “first in the fall” scientific sessions.
The SICP supports the RCIS and commits many of our resources to teach these courses. SICP conducted another RCIS review course at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics meeting (TCT) in Washington, D.C., as well as at the Advances in Cardiovascular & Endovascular Therapies (ACE) meeting in New York City.