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VASCULAR IMAGING SOLUTIONS: IVUS Training for Cath Lab Staff

James Guillory, RT, (R), (CV) is the Clinical Manager in the cardiac catheterization lab at the Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, La. Tray LaCombe, BSRT, (R) is a Staff Technologist CCL/Specials/EP at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center.
James Guillory, RT, (R), (CV) is the Clinical Manager in the cardiac catheterization lab at the Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, La. Tray LaCombe, BSRT, (R) is a Staff Technologist CCL/Specials/EP at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center.
The iLearn IVUS Education Series from Boston Scientific is an innovative and unique education concept that builds knowledge and confidence to incorporate intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) into daily practice. Designed for physicians, fellows, nurses and technologists, the iLearn Series consists of focused, job-specific IVUS education using Boston Scientific’s iLab Ultrasound Imaging System. The iLearn Series allows participants to continually expand knowledge, skill level and grow user confidence. The key course in the iLearn Series is the IVUS Essentials Course, which is designed for real-world, real-time training of staff and physicians in their own cath lab environment. With proven image quality, an easy-to-use system and an innovative IVUS education series, Boston Scientific is making is easier to see the best IVUS image. You recently completed IVUS Essentials -the introductory course in Boston Scientific’s new iLearn IVUS Education Series during which you received training using the Boston Scientific iLab Ultrasound Imaging System. Can you describe the skills your cath lab staff acquired during this course? Guillory: Our technologists and nurses learned how to accurately interpret IVUS images by identifying the catheter, guide wire shadow and the structures of the vessel, such as the lumen and intima. They also learned how to determine the composition of a lesion; for example, whether it is soft, calcified plaque or fibrous material. This information is invaluable in helping the physician to more completely assess a lesion than is possible with angiography, allowing them to more accurately judge whether or not an intervention is necessary. In other words, there may be times when angiographically a lesion may appear to be insignificant, but with IVUS it may prove to be a significant lesion and vice versa. By becoming skilled in IVUS interpretation, our technologists and nurses are better able to help our physicians ensure the correct diagnosis and thus choose the appropriate care for our patients. What do you see as the key barriers to regular IVUS use, and how did your training help you to overcome those barriers? Guillory: One of the main barriers to regular IVUS use is that it is perceived to be time-consuming. Our iLearn Series training taught us how to efficiently set up the equipment and interpret the images, significantly streamlining the procedure. With these new skills, we can help the physician to realize that IVUS is a vital part of a diagnostic intervention that adds minimal time to the procedure. How valuable was it for your staff to go through training together as a team? What about learning in your own cath lab environment? LaCombe: It was very valuable to have our staff educated as a group. In other training situations, we have only been able to send one or two people so that we can keep our lab operational, and then we end up relying on them to operate that equipment on a regular basis. Since the iLearn Series training was on-site, all of our technologists were able to attend and now know how to use the iLab System. Another plus with having the training in our own lab was that we learned how to use IVUS in hands-on sessions. As everyone knows, you can learn a technique from a slide presentation, but it’s a whole different ball game when you perform the procedure in your own cath lab, in a real-world setting. How have the iLab System and iLearn Series affected usage of IVUS in your lab? LaCombe: We’re using IVUS more now for several reasons. First, the skills we gained in the iLearn Series training gave our technologists and nurses an increased level of confidence in using the technology. Also, I think the physicians are eager to use the new iLab System since it offers many benefits over the equipment we had before. Guillory: I agree. Since we’ve had the new iLab System, I would estimate that our IVUS use has increased by one-third, most definitely due to the fact that our staff now knows how to use the technology more effectively. Tray was nominated to complete Boston Scientific’s IVUS Advanced Course. What skills will he acquire in this stage of the iLearn Series training? Guillory: The IVUS Advanced Course will expand on Tray’s current knowledge base and skill set, as well as grow his confidence in using the technology. He will learn to interpret complex IVUS images and quickly take accurate measurements, among many other useful skills. After the course, Tray will then be able to pass these skills on to the other staff physicians, nurses and other technologists so that we can all work together more efficiently and effectively. Sponsored by Boston Scientific Corporation.
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