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So far cxsymposium has created 113 blog entries.

The CX Venous Workshop is the best in the world


Lowell Kabnick (New York, United States), who is a CX Faculty member, describes how the CX Venous Workshop has gone from being a small intimate session to one that, while still intimate, is “really large and all inclusive”. He adds that he believes that it is the best he has seen.


The CX Venous Workshop is the best in the world 2018-02-13T15:55:23+00:00

CX Venous Consensus Update: Take-home messages


The CX Venous Consensus Update—Plenary Programme took place on the first day of CX 2017 (Tuesday, 25 April). Stephen Black, member of the CX Programme Organising Board, summarises the take-home messages of this session.

CX Venous Consensus Update: Take-home messages 2017-04-25T21:06:54+00:00

CX is “one of the most prestigious” places for trainees to present abstracts


Pasha Normahani (Imperial Vascular Unit, Imperial Academic Health Science Centre, London, UK) has been an attendee at the Charing Cross (CX) Symposium for over seven years. In 2016, he presented for the first time at the CX Abstract sessions and was awarded with a Certificate of Merit for his research in peripheral arterial disease. In […]

CX is “one of the most prestigious” places for trainees to present abstracts 2017-10-19T15:46:55+00:00

Ian Loftus reviews highlights of the CX 2016 Abstract Presentations


Ian Loftus, Co-chairman CX Abstract Board, reviews the highlights of this year’s CX Abstract Presentations session. He emphasises the quality of the work submitted and how relevant it is for young and senior clinicians to present their research at the Charing Cross Symposium.



Ian Loftus reviews highlights of the CX 2016 Abstract Presentations 2016-10-12T13:01:08+00:00

Why you should not miss the Peripheral Arterial sessions at CX 2016


“The Peripheral Arterial Programme at the Charing Cross Symposium in 2016 is really exciting; it combines the hot topics in the field with evidence, opinion and discussion,” says Andrew Holden (Auckland, New Zealand), member of the CX Programme Organising Board. He overviews key areas to be discussed on Tuesday 26 April including the management of […]

Why you should not miss the Peripheral Arterial sessions at CX 2016 2016-10-12T13:01:12+00:00

Why you should not miss the Venous Programme at CX 2016


In 2016, the Charing Cross Venous Programme will run on the four days of the Symposium (26–29 April) with the Main Programme for the first time on day 1, followed by the CX Venous Workshop on days 2 and 3, and the CX Venous Abstract Presentations on day 4. Ian Franklin (London, UK), member of […]

Why you should not miss the Venous Programme at CX 2016 2016-10-12T13:01:12+00:00

Stephen Black discusses the highlights of the CX 2016 Deep Venous programme


Stephen Black (London, UK), member of the CX Programme Organising Board, discusses the highlights of this year’s Deep Venous section of the CX Venous Challenges Day.

The CX Venous Challenges Day will take place at the Charing Cross Symposium on Tuesday 26 April – Lower Main Auditorium, Olympia Grand, London, UK

Click here to see the […]

Stephen Black discusses the highlights of the CX 2016 Deep Venous programme 2016-10-12T13:01:12+00:00

Chairman Roger Greenhalgh highlights the most exciting aortic topics of CX 2016


“There has never been a more exciting expectation of what we have for this year in the aortic area at CX,” says Roger Greenhalgh, chairman of the CX Programme Organising Board. Results from the Individual Patient Data meta-analysis of the four randomised controlled trials on endovascular aneurysm repair against open repair (EVAR 1, DREAM, OVER […]

Chairman Roger Greenhalgh highlights the most exciting aortic topics of CX 2016 2016-03-18T19:16:37+00:00

Interview with Ian Franklin at CX 2015: New venous technologies


Ian Franklin, a member of the CX Programme Organising Board and director of the CX Venous Workshop, speaks about new technologies for the treatment of varicose veins and about how deep venous interventions have been incorporated to the CX Venous Workshop.

Interview with Ian Franklin at CX 2015: New venous technologies 2015-12-18T16:12:28+00:00

Interview with Janet Powell at CX 2015: IMPROVE trial 12-month results


Janet Powell, Imperial College, London, UK, is interviewed about the 12-month results of the IMPROVE trial, presented for the first time at CX 2015. The study compares open repair and an endovascular strategy for ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Interview with Janet Powell at CX 2015: IMPROVE trial 12-month results 2015-08-07T15:50:00+00:00

GORE TAG Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis – Interview with Michael Dake


Colin Bicknell, London, UK, interviews Michael Dake, Stanford, USA, discussing the use of, and early results for, the new GORE TAG Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis device.

GORE TAG Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis – Interview with Michael Dake 2015-08-07T15:49:46+00:00

CX Abstract Sessions – Interview with Richard Gibbs


Richard Gibbs, member of the CX Abstract Board, speaks about the 2015 CX Abstract Sessions, their importance for this year’s Charing Cross Symposium, and how these sessions can help spotting new talent.

CX Abstract Sessions – Interview with Richard Gibbs 2015-08-07T15:49:00+00:00

CX Imaging Day provides unique view


The CX Imaging Day provided a comprehensive programme of state-of-the-art imaging that is applied to the aorta, carotid, peripheral arteries and veins, including planning and using hybrid theatres, robotics, 3D fusion and guidance, intravascular ultrasound, perfusion angiography, cone beam computed tomography and carbon dioxide angiography.

This year’s Imaging Day was divided into two parts, giving attendees the opportunity for maximum learning and understanding. The morning session saw the presentation of the latest data in the Olympia Room Learning Centre, while in the afternoon, various imaging providers, including Philips, GE Healthcare, Siemens, Hansen Medical, Volcano and Ziehm Imaging, hosted “Ask the Expert” workshops at their stands in the Exhibition Hall. These workshops allow attendees to interact in small groups with the experts and to look at the imaging systems and tools, providing them with a unique view of the technology.

GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare took the opportunity to show the flow of its solutions from sizing to the 3D fusion from table side. There was also focus on dose optimisation management.

Alejandra Gonzalez, European marketing product manager for Interventional Systems at GE explained, “We provided an educational framework where we raised awareness of the key elements that physicians need to take care of in order to reduce the dose or optimise the dose strategy. We wanted to do it in an educational way and at the same time a more interactive way as well.”

Guiding the presentations and providing personal input were physician experts Stephan Haulon (Lille, France) and Adrien Hertault (Lille, France). Haulon explained what took place saying, “we showed the attendees a couple of cases that were sized on a workstation so they had the ability to actually manipulate the workstation and then we had them do a fusion registration to show them how straightforward a technology it is and how user friendly it is. We also had a big focus on dose exposure which is a real concern for vascular surgeons today because we are doing more and more radiation exposure procedures. We had a quiz which stirred a lot of questions and debates. So this was actually quite passionate and really interesting.”

Commenting on the workshop Haulon added, “There was a lot of interaction and those people would never stand up in a large room to ask a question, whereas here they were very enthusiastic about sharing their comments and asking us for more details so I think it was a very valuable workshop.”

Hansen Medical

Hansen Medical presented the Magellan robotic system which helps physicians navigate through the vasculature. Joe Guido, vice president marketing and business development explained that the system is designed to “make the procedure more efficient and more predictable for physicians and also allows physicians to stay out of the field of radiation. The robotic system will drive robotic catheters that you can shape and control without having to do exchanges for other catheters.”

Physician experts Barry Katzen (Miami, USA) and Celia Riga (London, UK) presented their experiences with intravascular robotics and the Magellan robotic system.

Guido commented on the workshop saying that many physicians are very curious about the technology and the practical applications and how it can benefit them and their practice. “An expert is much more accessible at the stand and it is a much more intimate environment. It encourages physicians to listen to the presentation and then speak to the experts and ask one-on-one questions,” he said.


Philips presented its technology and had physician experts Frank Vermassen (Ghent, Belgium) and Jim Reekers (Amsterdam, Netherlands) on hand to answer queries from physician-attendees. Philips demonstrators showcased the company’s technology including the VesselNavigator, a live image guidance solution; 2D Perfusion; Veradius Unity, a C-arm with flat detector; and gave advice on considerations when purchasing a hybrid room.

Commenting on the Veradius Unity, Philips demonstrator Marianne Kwakernaat said that the technology was developed, “to help get a more united team in the OR because there was a lot of frustration between doctors and operators who did not understand each other, so we made a lot of improvements to our systems to first, make it more easy to communicate, so we added some tools, and second, we made a new touchscreen which is very interactive and easy to use.”

She added that the workshop was a good vehicle to give the physicians the opportunity to see the products and figure out which one is most suitable to their hospital and their uses.


Siemens showcased the complete workflow for EVAR procedures, starting with the preoperational CT scan. The company also gave attendees the opportunity to see the PURE software technology for the Artis zeego.

Dirk Sunderbrink, business manager, Therapy Systems at Siemens described the system saying, “It allows the vascular surgeon 2D and 3D registration with much less dose and in much less time than with previous systems. This PURE software guides the vascular surgeon through the procedure automatically to have fusion imaging available to guide them through the procedures.” He added, “The teaching opportunity is important to us because there are presentations, but it is much easier to really see it hands-on.”

Dittmar Böckler (Heidelberg, Germany) was on hand providing an expert position, giving attendees the opportunity to ask questions about the Siemens technology.


Volcano showcased its intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) system, which provides detailed and accurate measurements of lumen and vessel size, plaque area and volume, and the location of key anatomical landmarks.

Physician expert Fabrizio Fanelli (Rome, Italy) was present to give his personal perspective of the technology and to answer attendees’ queries. At the stand, demonstrations were done showing real time sizing and procedure assessment with reduced exposure and contrast.

Volcano demonstrator Fiorella De Nicolais explained that the IVUS technology helps differentiate the four plaque types: fibrous, fibro-fatty, necrotic core and dense calcium.

She added that, “Not everyone knows IVUS, or the way it works or the benefits of using it, so the workshop is about getting more details and learning how the technology works.”

Ziehm Imaging

Ziehm Imaging featured its mobile hybrid room concept which consists of a mobile C-arm that has all the imaging capabilities of a fixed, installed hybrid room—high power imaging, a liquid cooling system, flat panel technology, fully motorised movements.

Visitors to the stand heard presentations from experts Wolfgang Keller (Nuremberg, Germany) and Peter Goverde (Antwerp, Belgium), who spoke about Ziehm’s mobile interventional suite and their clinical experiences with a mobile hybrid OR.

Summarising, Axel Kouril from Ziehm Imaging said, “As opposed to fixed installed hybrid ORs which are very expensive and have additional installations costs of enforcing the floor or the ceiling, and lead protection, this system has the size of a normal mobile C-arm and the imaging capabilities of a fixed installed system (up to 90%), but it is cheaper, it is mobile, and more flexible.”

CX Imaging Day provides unique view 2016-10-12T13:01:16+00:00

A record-breaking week for the CX Venous Workshop


The second day of the CX Venous Workshop was held yesterday on the Upper Level of the Gallery, rounding off a busy week in which more than 950 people visited over the two days—a new record for the Workshop. Once again the educational stations, of which there were more than 30, were packed with delegates looking forward to one-on-one time with the distinguished Charing Cross Symposium faculty.

As was the case on Wednesday, the “Endovenous Ablation Village” was running, showcasing all available techniques to ablate truncal veins, along with practical training sessions teaching ultrasound-guided cannulation, catheter positioning and tumescent anaesthesia.

While the first day of the workshop focused largely on varicose veins and superficial venous issues, yesterday went deeper into the vein by examining acute deep vein thrombosis, intravascular ultrasound and deep venous stenting. Every station saw a significant amount of traffic, with delegates showing a keen interest in the intravascular ultrasound and deep vein thrombosis stations.

Ian Franklin, one of the course directors, said “Today we have had a big change of interest to deep venous—treatments of deep vein thrombosis, deep vein stenting, intravascular ultrasound, pelvic vein embolisation and so on—and it is packed. There is not a single empty training station, everyone has good interest and it is sustained. We deliberately have this flexible format so people can come and go—if they find they have a gap in the programme they can come and join us and make sure their time is used profitably.”

As the workshop drew to a close for another year, thoughts turned towards 2016. “Every year we change the event and it has never been the same as it was before, so next year will definitely be different,” said Franklin. “One thing I would consider is bringing in recorded live cases of all the new techniques we are showcasing to complement the hands-on demonstrations, using screens and some commentaries.”

With the workshop in its seventh year, there is always the opportunity to resurrect popular aspects of previous years’ Workshops. For example, Franklin suggested, “I would also like to bring back interactive discussion of complicated and difficult cases. That was always very popular, especially when you had a series of well-known experts all discussing how best to handle a case. Quite often we are showcasing different techniques and then once you have learnt that technique there comes the discussion of when to use it, so I think those case-based discussions complement the learning too.”

Day 2 offered stations covering: thermal (laser), thermal (radiofrequency ablation), non-thermal, practical training stations, valves, vascular ultrasound training simulator, venous malformations, pelvic venous imaging, pelvic vein embolisation, acute deep vein thrombosis, caval filters, follow-up protocols, air plethysmography, intravenous ultrasound and deep vein stenting.

Alma Lasers was exhibiting its VascuLife minimally invasive varicose vein laser treatment with robotic pullback. Having received CE mark and FDA approval recently, the VascuLife station had plenty of visitors looking to learn about the robotic pullback capability, which standardises pullback rate safely and allows a surgeon to focus on other tasks while pullback is completed. Shira Doron, marketing director at Alma Lasers, believes that the CX Venous Workshop gave companies and physicians a chance to interact and share information in an informal and purely scientific setting. She said, “Physicians view this as their professional platform as opposed to booths, which may feel like more of a marketing platform. They come here and it is all about the device and what it can do. You do not need to see movies or brochures—it is all about the technology.”

The new ArtVentive EOS device also was highlighted yesterday. Krzysztof Pyra (Lublin, Poland) spoke his experience with the EOS device treating ovarian veins for pelvic congestion syndrome. In addition, treatment of spermatic vein varicoceles were also presented. Pyra discussed his approach to diagnosing and treating pelvic vein incompetence. According to Pyra, of particular note was the immediacy of occlusion with the EOS device and shorter procedure times. Pyra uses a combination of EOS and sclerosant to occlude the pelvic veins.

A record-breaking week for the CX Venous Workshop 2016-10-12T13:01:16+00:00

Early results with a new thoracic branched device for the arch “are promising”


Michael Dake, Stanford, USA, presented the initial results with the GORE TAG Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis (TBE), a new device for treatment of the aortic arch at CX yesterday.

Dake, Stanford, USA, presented the initial results with the GORE TAG Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis (TBE), a new device for treatment of the aortic arch.

Dake told delegates that the GORE TAG TBE is a single branch device that consists of an aortic component, a side branch component and an optional aortic extender. The side branch component is delivered through a sheath and docks into the aortic component portal which allows for perfusion of a single arch branch vessel. The device is currently being studied in a zone 2 (left subclavian) feasibility study and a zone 0/1 (brachiocephalic and left common carotid) early feasibility study in the USA.

Currently, there are 20 patients (10 men and 10 women, mean age 75.4 years) successfully enrolled in zone 2 and one patient enrolled in zone 0/1. All 20 patients in zone 2 had successful access and deployment of the TBE device with the side branch component patent at the end of the procedure. Additionally, all side branch components remain patent.  At one month, there have been no reported patient deaths or stroke. The left ankle brachial index (1.1) remains the same from pre-procedure to one month. There were no endoleaks that required reintervention.

The first two zone 0 patients were treated with the TBE device at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center by Michel Makaroun, and at the Mayo Clinic by Gustavo Oderich. The protocol requires the patient to be treated in two phases with phase 1 revascularisation and phase 2 endovascular procedure. In phase 1, the patient underwent cervical debranching of the arch via a carotid to carotid bypass followed by a left carotid to left subclavian transposition. The proximal left common carotid and left subclavian artery was suture ligated.

Dake spoke about the patient treated about Makaroun and said the patient tolerated the procedure well without any neurological complications. The patient was assessed and deemed stable to proceed to phase 2 after 24 hours. In phase 2, the aortic component was advanced and deployed at the target location near the brachiocephalic artery. The sheath was advanced without difficulty into the portal of the aortic component into the brachiocephalic artery. The side branch component was advanced and deployed. Final arteriography showed excellent flow into the arch vessels, aneurysm exclusion, and complete apposition of the aortic component both proximally and distally.

Dake concluded: “These early results are promising with 100% technical success and side branch patency along with 0% death or stroke at one month.”

Early results with a new thoracic branched device for the arch “are promising” 2015-07-11T02:23:22+00:00

Fear of being sued may force healthcare providers into improving access to diabetic foot care services


Although there is strong evidence that multidisciplinary foot care services can reduce the number of amputations associated with diabetic foot, access to such services remains patchy. Cliff Shearman (Southampton, UK) believes that healthcare providers are not doing enough to improve access. He says that it may take litigation from patients, who have lost a foot through poor care, to persuade healthcare providers to increase access, which he says would be “a great pity” because it should be “evidence and enthusiasm” that drives change.

Speaking at the CX ilegx Collaboration Day yesterday, Shearman explained that early diagnosis and prompt treatment can help to reduce the risk of amputation in patients with diabetic foot. He added that there is “strong evidence” to show that well-organised diabetic foot teams, working across primary and secondary care, can ensure that patients receive the care they need. Shearman noted that research indicates that such teams can the reduce rate of amputation by up to 80%. Furthermore, he reported that having a foot care team at his hospital (Southampton) has resulted in costs savings of £1,695,600 and a reduction in total beds of 5,662.

However, in the UK, only around 50% of people with diabetes receive the recommended nine health checks, including foot examination, and up to one in five hospitals do not have a diabetic foot protection team. Shearman commented: “I think healthcare professionals are now much more interested in the need to provide good care to reduce the amputation rates, but there is a lack of drive from government and healthcare providers to push this forward. At the moment, in the UK, we do not have core criteria for commissioning diabetic foot care services—all we can really do is to try to emulate those who have created good services,” he said.

According to Shearman, there are three steps to encouraging healthcare providers to take steps to increase access to foot care services: enthusiasm and evidence, naming and shaming, and litigation. He claimed that we are now the stage of “naming and shaming”—ie, showing how amputations rates can be “staggeringly reduced” with timely access and multidisciplinary team working. “If that does not work, it will be litigation that drives change. The number of ligation cases is rising enormously because people are recognising that they have not received good care and therefore, are taking action against their healthcare provider. It will be a great pity if litigation is what prompts change as it should be enthusiasm and evidence.” 

Michael Edmonds (London, UK), who (like Shearman) is a course director of the CX ilegx Collaboration Day, agrees that poorly organised services—rather than a lack of effective treatment—are a cause of patients with diabetic foot having to undergo amputation. He said one of the key goals of ilegx, which was started in 2008, was to “encourage interdisciplinary collaboration that spans the primary and secondary services, and develop and implement best practice approach to save legs.”

Shearman told CX Daily News: “I hope delegates who attend the course will go away fired up with the knowledge that they can make a difference [by being enthusiastic about improving care and encouraging multidisciplinary working] and that they can help their centres save money as well as improve outcomes. Improving the care of patients with diabetic foot is not about hiring lots of new people or lots of new technology. It is about working as a team.”

Treatment options for diabetic foot

During the CX ilegx Collaboration Day, there were several talks about treatment options for patients with diabetic foot. Toby Richards (London, UK) spoke about a novel wound therapy called CelluTome (KCI). He said that this involved taking an epidermal graft off a patient’s leg, without any form of anaesthetic, by applying local heat to create microblisters that were then transferred onto a wound.

To assess the system, Richards and colleagues evaluated its use in a case series of 30 patients who were candidates for split skin grafts—most of whom had chronic wounds, with Richards noting: “so, we are not picking winners” (ie. patients with wounds that had a better chance of complete healing).

He stated that the “most important thing” was that the average time for donor site healing was 5.43±1.54 days, the mean pain score was 1.33±0.95, and the Vancouver Scar Scale was 0 for all cases at six weeks after therapy.

Richards reported that 17 patients had complete healing (12 in under six week and four in under eight weeks) and that seven grafts failed due to infection, adding “one of the problems we had is that the graft looks like a biofilm at two weeks and a nurse who was not familiar would come along and think it needed cleaning, so there goes your graft. While you get used to this look, you need to leave the dressing on as long as possible, and then you will start to get good results.” He concluded that it was a novel technology that was “feasible” and it that “certainly does work”, saying: “as with all new technologies, it should be tested in a proper trial before we introduce it into normal practice. Therefore, we will be evaluating it in a randomised controlled trial.”

Jennifer Tremlett (London, UK) also spoke about wound care techniques, including platelet rich plasma, larvae therapy, and negative wound pressure. Like Shearman and Edmonds, Tremlett advocated “multidisciplinary working” because it “provides better outcomes”. Furthermore, Dean Huang (London, UK), who spoke about advances in distal endovascular surgery, said that the need for collaborative working and rapid access to diagnosis and intervention were “probably two of the most important points” in his talk.

Fear of being sued may force healthcare providers into improving access to diabetic foot care services 2015-07-11T02:23:22+00:00

“We can solve the limitations of carotid stenting with a micro-mesh stent and its sustained anti-embolic action”


Micro-mesh stents and sustained anti-embolic action to reduce cerebral embolisation may contribute to solving the remaining limitations of carotid stenting, according to Alberto Cremonesi (Cotignola, Italy), who spoke at CX 2015 (28 April–1 May, London, UK).

Cremonesi examined the potential for micro-mesh stents to improve existing carotid artery stenting outcomes.

He told delegates that the correct technique for performing a carotid artery stenting was to conduct a pre-procedural evaluation for common carotid engagement, to select the correct stent and to select and manage an embolic protection device.

Cremonesi said that it is already known that “not all plaques are the same”, and that “carotid artery stenting and carotid endarterectomy are —and will remain—emboli-generating procedures”. He told the audience that it is possible to give sustained anti-embolic over time using specific stents.

When a poorly-selected stent is used for carotid artery stenting, intra-strut prolapse can occur resulting in post-procedural embolic events. The difficulty then, commented Cremonesi, is that “lesions in the carotid arteries are often anatomically and morphologically very challenging. For this reason, plaque coverage can play an important role.”

The use of stenting strategies such as open cell, closed cell and hybrid geometry can be considered “time honoured”. Now, vascular specialists have access micro-mesh double layer carotid stents (Terumo, InspireMD and Gore), said Cremonesi, whose personal experience is with the Roadsaver carotid stent from Terumo.

Cremonesi admitted that “In terms of data, we do not have very much at the moment” for the use of micro-mesh. Some data do exist from the CARENET all-comer trial, in which 30 patients saw “very good” outcomes without any neurological events up to five months follow-up. A further multicentre trial with 100 patients, CLEAR-ROAD, is also beginning, though Cremonesi said that he did “not want to conclude anything” about it yet.

“We are probably changing the paradigms in carotid artery stenting, because with these micro-mesh stents and their sustained anti-embolic action, we can solve the remaining limitation of carotid stenting,” ended Cremonesi.

Discussing his presentation with the audience, Cremonesi mentioned that “two-thirds of the embolic complications are in the post-procedural phase.” When session chairman Roger Greenhalgh asked about the cause for this later onset of complications, Cremonesi told him that it was due to the stent interacting with and cutting the plaque in the carotid artery, which can occur during the phase and even up to 48 hours later. Cremonesi made it clear that this problem is one of the carotid artery, rather than one associated with the aortic arch.

“We can solve the limitations of carotid stenting with a micro-mesh stent and its sustained anti-embolic action” 2016-10-12T13:01:16+00:00

Despite endovascular revolution, 65% say heyday of open repair in aortic arch continues


There have been vast technological advances that have enabled the final frontier of the aorta, the diseased ascending aorta and arch, to be treated by completely endovascular means. Simultaneously, there have also been advances in open repair. Also, with perioperative stroke remaining a principal risk with TEVAR, the high incidence of cerebral embolisation with the procedure is a problem that needs wider recognition, delegates heard yesterday.

In a panel discussion during the session on interventions for ascending aorta and aortic arch, Roger Greenhalgh, chairman of the CX Organising Board, pressed the panel to comment on patient mortality after open repair and endovascular repair.

The mortality rate for open repair is around 3%, even when there is involvement of the aortic valve, said Stephen Large, Cambridge, UK. With endovascular repair, it approaches 10%, said Dittmar Böckler, Heidelberg, Germany. Subsequently, 65% of the CX 2015 audience voted against the motion that the heyday of open aortic surgery is over.

Richard Gibbs, London, UK, told CX delegates yesterday that there was a high rate of embolisation during arch and descending thoracic intervention that could be observed as silent cerebral infarction on new imaging techniques. The results from the study he presented showed that there is a 70% silent cerebral infarction on MRI and that there is postoperative neurocognitive decline in patients with silent cerebral infarctions.

Gibbs made the point that stroke, which was caused by cerebral embolisation, was a relatively crude surrogate, but a clinically relevant measure of microembolisation. The stroke rate for TEVAR ranges between 3% and 6%, said Gibbs, with embolisation being caused by the passage of stiff wires, soft wires, devices and manipulation within the diseased aorta. The risk factors are the atheromatous burden within the aorta and using a proximal landing zone. Hypotension is also very important, he said.

“A much subtler way of looking at microembolisation is with diffusion-weighted MR that detects acute ischaemia that is due to cerebral oedema. These lesions appear within 24 hours of the insult and last up to 14 days, and show as hyperintense bright areas that are easy to recognise,” Gibbs noted.

Gibbs then showed diffusion-weighted cerebral MR images from a patient who had silent cerebral infarctions but did not develop signs or symptoms of clinical stroke following TEVAR. “Therefore what we see here is silent stroke, or silent cerebral infarction, which is imaging evidence of cerebral infarction, without a history of acute neurological dysfunction attributable to the lesion,” Gibbs said.

He qualified that he believed the term silent cerebral infarction is a misnomer because there is an increasing body of evidence that suggests that silent cerebral infarction is associated with depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, future increased risk of stroke and mortality.

Published literature shows a significant rate of cerebral infarction with various different interventions involving the arch and unsurprisingly transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), which is the biggest device and causes the most cerebral infarction, he explained.

“When it comes to TEVAR, there is very little literature, and one paper suggests that there is a 63% risk of cerebral infarction with the procedure,” said Gibbs referring to the data from 19 patients from Kahlert et al published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery in 2014 that found diffusion-weighted MR evidence of cerebral infarction after TEVAR in 12 of 19 (63%) undergoing the procedure for a variety of indications. There was no overt clinical stroke seen in these patients.

Gibbs then presented the pilot work done by his team on the rates of silent cerebral infarctions during TEVAR, the presence of silent cerebral infarction on MR and whether there are neurocognitive changes afterwords.

“We included 44 patients undergoing TEVAR and looked at the burden of atheroma within the arch of the descending aorta based on the American Heart Association grading method. The patients had bidirectional transcranial Doppler, which is a direct measure of cerebal microembolisation. “A subset of these patients had pre-and postoperative MR looking for more evidence of infarction (23 patients). Another subset had neurocognitive assessment before the intervention, after the intervention in hospital and eight weeks later to see if any changes persist,” said Gibbs.

Forty one TEVAR procedures involving the arch and descending aorta were performed for a variety of pathologies. Of these 21 were standard and 20 were complex involving the use of branches, scallops or adjunctive surgical procedures. “We had fairly proximal landing zones,” he noted.

“Looking at the specific procedural steps, we see clearly that stent graft deployment carries the most significant rate of embolisation,” said Gibbs. He then showed a transcranial Doppler during stent graft deployment where a burst of cerebral embolisation was visible in both hemispheres. “The highest activity of cerebral embolisation was when the device was deployed. Increased embolisation was associated with the left hemisphere more than the right; stent manipulation more than wire and catheter passage; a higher grade of atheroma compared to a lower grade (so a higher burden of disease); chronic rather than acute disease. Patients who had a stroke had the highest rate of embolisation. A proximal landing zone rather than distal one had a higher rate of cerebral embolisation. In the group where we looked for evidence of silent cerebral infarction, 70% (16/23) of our patients had this, mostly in the left hemisphere and mostly in the territory served by the middle cerebral artery. Ten per cent of these patients had a clinical stroke,” said Gibbs.

When the researchers selected out the data for older patients from the group, they found that executive function diminished and stayed down at eight weeks, memory diminished and manual dexterity got worse.

“There is a significantly high rate of cerebral embolisation during TEVAR and the more proximal you go, the worse it is. There is a definitive and radiologically proven damage to the brain and these patients do pay a price for this. We have to be thinking about how we can intervene [either pharmacologically or by using devices],” concluded Gibbs.

Scarcity of literature on proximal landing zone and TEVAR outcomes

Dittmar Böckler stated that while the relationship between the proximal landing zone and outcome was well-documented in the EVAR literature, there were very few publications focused on how the proximal landing zone influences patient outcomes with TEVAR in the arch, and noted the low level of evidence.

“There are no randomised controlled trial data on open versus endovascular approaches and there are no meta-analyses. The data come from limited European registry data from the Relay registry, Traviata registry and European CTAG registry,” he noted.

Böckler drew attention to the fact that there was no consensus in the literature and guidelines on the appropriate proximal neck length and that this variation was reflected in the instructions for use from manufacturers, as the target landing zone is depending on stent graft diameter.

“The appropriate proximal landing zone for TEVAR is not defined. Arch type and atheroma seem to influence stroke risk during TEVAR in the arch. “There is strong need for new refined conformable devices in the arch including branched stent graft technology,” Böckler said.

Value of medication

Frank Lederle, Minneapolis, USA, speaking on the value of medication such as statins before aortic arch catheterisation, stated that there was very little trustworthy randomised controlled trial data to go by. He reviewed evidence that bears on whether perioperative statins or aspirin benefit patients having a thoracic aortic procedure. “Analyses showing benefit of perioperative use rely on weak and doubtful studies. When it comes to aspirin, there are no data on perioperative benefit, but there is an increased major and minor bleeding,” he said.

Lederle drew attention to the fact that many patients with aortic aneurysm have arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease and should be on statins and aspirin long-term. “There is no good evidence that statins or aspirin improve long-term outcomes for patients with aortic arch patients without arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, so some of these patients will not be on these medications. Questions remain on when whether or not patients are on them long-term and whether they should be used perioperatively,” he said.

Open surgery

Stephen Large, Cambridge, UK, a cardiac surgeon, outlined the case for open surgery in interventions for ascending and arch of the aorta, the current gold standard approach.

Large noted that not operating resulted in a “dreadful attrition”. “We know that there is an increase in attrition correlated with the increase in aneurysm size, the hingepoint being around 5.5cm in the ascending and arch, which is associated with an acceleration in terms of stroke, dissection rupture and death,” he said.

“What we very often do in the ascending aorta is deal with an associated post-aortic valvular lesion either by an interposition graft, that is something placed above the coronary artery ostia, really at the level of the sinotubular junction, and right up to the origin of the innominate artery—a true ascending aortic replacement. We can, if we are in trouble (of course with involvement of pathology within the aortic root), replace the aortic root and that always requires reimplantation of the coronary ostia, which brings a raft of problems of threatening ischaemia with it. Up until relatively recently, this involved automatic replacement of the aortic valve. There is now a keen interest in considering valve preservation procedures, something that I have fought against for many years, because the aortic valve is embryologically of the same origin as the ascending aorta. However, counterintuitively, it appears that the aortic valve fares very well. So what to do with the arch? We can replace it with a tube graft and address each of the usual three arch vessels. Or we can translocate the whole of the aortic arch vessels permitting the use of either replacement or stenting. As cardiac surgeons, we find ourselves replacing the ascending aorta in an emergency as a life-saving procedure for dissection. We, of course, will look at ascending aortic aneurysms for elective surgery for prognostic issues and this is often in conjunction with other procedures in the chest such as aortic valve replacement,” he said.

Endovascular procedures a valid alternative in selected patients

Piergiorgio Cao, Rome, Italy, speaking on branched stent grafts for the treatment of complex arch lesions, said that any repair of aortic arch remains demanding and exposes patients to mortality and stroke risks that are “not negligible”. Open repair is the gold standard, and hybrid and endovascular repair are valid alternatives, mostly in patients who are at high risk for surgery, he noted.

Cao defined the morphological feasibility to receive endovascular treatment as the presence of a proximal landing ≥2cm in length and ≤4.2cm in diameter. The challenges for TEVAR in the arch include conformability of the stent graft, endoleak and retrograde dissection occurence, he said.

He then alluded to a recent publication in the Journal of Vascular Surgery from Paola De Rango et al that analysed total aortic arch reconstruction in a contemporary comparison of current open and endovascular repair.

De Rango et al entered endovascular and open arch procedures performed from 2007 to 2013 into a prospective database and then retrospectively analysed the data. Endovascular repair (proximal landing zones 0-1), with or without a hybrid adjunct, was selected for patients who were sicker but who had a fit anatomy. Operations involving coverage of left subclavian artery only (zone 2 proximal landing) and open hemiarch replacement were excluded.

As reported in the journal, the authors concluded that despite the older age and a higher comorbidity profile in patients with challenging aortic arch disease who were suitable and selected for endovascular arch repair, no significant differences were detected in perioperative and four-year outcomes compared with the younger patients undergoing open arch total repair.

Yesterday, Cao concluded by saying: “The endovascular approach is a valid alternative to open surgery for all patients, when morphologically feasible. A safer proximal landing zone with longer coverage of the ascending aorta may be the key for long-term durability and to prevent retrograde dissection. Branched stent grafts might be useful in avoiding arch manipulations and decreasing the risk of major adverse events,” he said.

Greenhalgh then commented that the audience might like to have some idea of the expected mortality associated with both the open and endovascular methods in the case of a 70-year-old patient with an ascending dilating disease process in which the valve becomes incompetent. Mortality is 3% with open repair and 10% with endovascular repair, the audience learned.

He further commented on the resurgence of the classification of aneurysmal disease: “The starting point seems to be aneurysmal disease. We are seeing comments on syphilitic, fusiform and saccular aneurysms and this is beginning to look like an old surgical textbook, he commented.

In a debate, Hans-Henning Eckstein, Munich, Germany, argued against the motion “The heyday of open aortic surgery is over” to garner majority support that open repair still had a valid place in the treatment of the ascending aorta and aortic arch. He persuaded 65% of the delegates to vote against the motion. Frank Veith, New York, USA, spoke for the motion.

Despite endovascular revolution, 65% say heyday of open repair in aortic arch continues 2016-10-12T13:01:16+00:00

Data evaluating the new Eluvia drug-eluting stent demonstrate 94.4% primary patency rate at nine months


A clinical trial evaluating Eluvia Drug-Eluting Vascular Stent System (Boston Scientific) has met its primary endpoint with more than 94% of the lesions treated remaining open at nine months post implantation. This was accompanied by a target lesion revascularisation rate of less than 4%.

Results from the MAJESTIC trial were presented yesterday by Stefan Müller-Hülsbeck, Flensburg, Germany, at the CX Abstracts Session – Peripheral Arterial. The trial enrolled 57 patients across Europe, Australia and New Zealand with an average lesion length of 70.8mm. 

“I have not seen clinical data this impressive for a vascular stent that has to perform in an environment as challenging as the superficial femoral artery,” said Müller-Hülsbeck. “Because of forces created by knee flexion, there is an increased risk of restenosis, but we are seeing little evidence of this in the MAJESTIC trial.”

The nine-month follow-up showed no deaths or amputations.

The Eluvia Stent System is a stent purpose-built for the superficial femoral artery and uses a polymer and paclitaxel combination designed to facilitate a sustained drug release to reduce restenosis. The system is built on the Innova Stent System platform consisting of a self-expanding nitinol stent with a paclitaxel-eluting biostable polymer matrix loaded on a low-profile delivery system. According to Boston Scientific, the stent architecture features a closed-cell design at each end of the stent for more predictable deployment, and an open-cell design along the stent body for improved flexibility, strength and fracture resistance.

The Eluvia Stent System is pending CE mark and is not available for use or sale in the USA.

Data evaluating the new Eluvia drug-eluting stent demonstrate 94.4% primary patency rate at nine months 2015-07-11T02:23:22+00:00

CX brings peripheral study data to life with live cases


Yesterday, for the first time, the Charing Cross International Symposium broadcast peripheral live cases that were directly linked to data presented the previous day on the theme of peripheral arterial controversies. The aim of the course was to provide delegates with opportunities to learn techniques to achieve the best results with the approaches discussed in the data.

Speaking from Bad Krozingen via satellite video, Thomas Zeller (Bad Krozingen, Germany), the director of the peripheral live cases course, said: “The live case transmissions are little bit different from what people are used to seeing at conferences. Our goal is not to educate or teach you about complex interventions; our goal is to provide you with context to data from recently published trials or even ongoing trials.” He explained that he would be the chief operator in the cases and would be assisted by Alijoscha Rastan, Elias Noory, and Ulrich Beschomer (all from Bad Krozingen, Germany).

The first case of the course was related to the 24-month ILLUMENATE data that were presented on Tuesday at CX by Stephan Duda (Berlin, Germany). It involved a patient who was enrolled in the ILLUMENATE Global Registry, which is evaluating Spectranetic’s Stellarex drug-coated balloon. Zeller explained that the patient appeared to have very mild disease of the distal superficial femoral artery. He added that they had purposely chosen a patient with a “relatively simple lesion” to remind the audience that “almost all of the data you can see so far regarding drug-eluting balloons are TASC A or B lesions”.

Zeller reported that he would be using an 8cm drug-coated balloon (with a 4cm balloon to predilate the vessel) because the rule for using drug-coated balloons should be the same as that for using stents in the coronary arteries: treat from a healthy segment into a healthy segment. He explained that the patient in this case had diffuse disease in proximal areas.

According to Zeller, another rule for using drug-coated balloons was not to put the balloon into the vessel until “everything was prepared”. He said: “Preparation means slashing off the guidewire; it is evacuating cracked air from inside the vessel so that you can see the exact actions of the balloon when it is inflated. If you wait until the balloon is inside the vessel to do the preparation, the balloon is already exposed to the bloodstream; the longer the balloon is exposed to the bloodstream, the more drug you will lose from the surface.”

The second case, in which the Silverhawk atherectomy device (Covidien-Medtronic) and a drug-coated balloon were used to treat a popliteal artery stenosis, was also related to data presented during the peripheral arterial controversies. Zeller commented that the rationale for using atherectomy in this patient was based on the results of the DEFINITIVE AR study, which indicated that directional atherectomy and anti-restenotic therapy (DAART) could be used to improve patency in long and severely calcified lesions: the Zeller himself presented the study’s 24-month results at CX on the peripheral day. However, he commented that the patient in the case was not the typical “DEFINITIVE AR” patient because her femoral artery was “free from disease”. “The popliteal artery, in particular the distal segment, is severely exposed to extra compression forces. Therefore, we usually try to avoid placing a stent in this artery. Thus, we used atherectomy before a drug-coated balloon in this particular patient to try to avoid the need for a stent,” Zeller explained.

Rotational atherectomy, with the Jetstream device (Boston Scientific), and a drug-coated balloon (Ranger, also Boston Scientific) were used, in the third case, to treat a calcified superficial femoral artery lesion. According to Noory, who gave the overview of the case, the first-in-man data for the Ranger device were not yet available but data from the preclinical studies were “promising”. The case sparked a discussion about when to use atherectomy and when to use rotational atherectomy, with Zeller commenting: “Rotational atherectomy is a pretty good tool for occlusions. Also small vessels, 4mm for example, also respond very well to the Jetstream system. If you have larger diameters, 5–6mm vessels, or bifurcations then I prefer to use atherectomy.”

The final case of the morning was supposed to involve the use of the TurboHawk (Covidien-Medtronic) and a drug-coated balloon for the treatment of a lesion in the common femoral artery. This related to the ongoing PESTO-CFA study, which is comparing percutaneous intervention with surgery for the management of common femoral artery lesions. However, Zeller had difficulties putting in the guidewire in the lesion and, after discussing the case with the audience, decided to proceed to putting in the drug-coated balloon without using atherectomy.

In the afternoon, cases were focused on situations in which “stents were unavoidable or beneficial” and “where stents are unavoidable or beneficial and in-stent restenosis treatment”. The devices used in these cases were the Zilver PTX (Cook Medical) with a new release system, the Supera (Abbott Vascular), the Supera with a provisional re-entry device, the Innova  stent (Boston Scientific), the SmartFlex (Cordis), a sirolimus-eluting balloon and the BioMimics stent (Biosensors), heparin-bonded contoured-edge Viabahn (Gore Medical), and Rotarex (Straub Medical) and IN.PACT Pacific (Medtronic). During Tuesday’s peripheral programme, there were talks reviewing the current controversies in peripheral stenting.

Giovanni Torsello (Münster, Germany), who chaired the morning session of the live cases course, said the live cases were a valuable educational tool because delegates not only wanted to hear about study data but also see “how they can make their strategies, their techniques better than before. This is why people attend live case courses.”


LINC (Leipzig Interventional Course) once again held a live case session at CX, which this year focused on below-the-knee interventions. The cases included recanalisation of an infrapopliteal obstruction with a drug-coated balloon, retrograde transpedal recanalisation with 3F access system, and lesion-specific use of a drug-eluting stent and a drug-coated balloon for an infrapopliteal obstruction. Giancarlo Biamino (Mercogliano, Italy) told CX Daily News that live cases that “do not go according to plan” were just as educational as the ones that did because it gave delegates opportunities to see how operator can manage and rectify unexpected situations.

CX brings peripheral study data to life with live cases 2015-07-11T02:23:22+00:00

70% say going “off-label” to use EVAR in necks less than 10mm in length can be sensible


In traditional Charing Cross fashion, yesterday’s debates stirred much discussion in the Main Auditorium. Particularly stirring was the debate where the audience voted 70% against the motion that EVAR is not sensible for any abdominal aortic aneurysm with a neck length less than 10mm. Stephen Cheng (Hong Kong) spoke for the motion, while Jan Blankensteijn (Amsterdam, Netherlands) sounded-off against the motion.

Making his case, Cheng said that even with new devices, there are more early complications, more late complications, more (difficult) secondary interventions and more adjuncts associated with short-neck endovascular aneurysm repair.

On the other hand, his opponent maintained that in selected cases of infrarenal neck length <10mm, “Any of the current infra/transrenal devices can be used with or without endoanchors for enhancement,” adding that even if it comes with a moderately increased risk of type 1a endoleak, it “balances against downsides of F-EVAR, CHIMPS, or against open repair (if F-EVAR is not an option).”

Discussing the outcome of the debate and the audience’s strong position against the motion, Blankensteijn said, “I think that people understand that things are not absolute and clearly we know that staying inside IFU you get better results. I am not running around proposing to treat any less than 10mm neck with an infrarenal device, but the point is that judicious use of these devices outside IFU can produce better results and injudicious use outside the IFU is an instruction that the industry gives you, we need to think with these device what to do an there are several occasions it does not make sense or it may even be dangerous to use a fenestrated stent graft. Then I would suppose that an infrarenal device (for instance Gore Excluder) preserves all the options juxtarenally, so if this fails, you still have the option to use a fenestrated cuff or go higher up.”

The debate took place during a session on procedures for infrarenal abdominal aortic neck.

The answer lies in the neck

While presenting the morphology findings from the IMPROVE trial, Robert Hinchliffe, London, UK, drew attention to independent association between neck length and mortality. “Only aortic neck length is significantly associated (inversely) with 30-day mortality both for open repair (p<0.001) and overall (p=0.007). The shorter the neck, the higher the mortality after open repair (and EVAR). With long necks, the 30-day mortality from EVAR and open repair is similar (and this is consistent with the results of the AJAX and ECAR trials),” he said.

Therefore, added Hinchliffe, a short aneurysm neck was the commonest reason for a patient being unsuitable for conventional EVAR. The results also explain why observational studies, which cherry pick long-necked aneurysms for EVAR leaving all the short necked aneurysms for open repair, always show that mortality is lower after EVAR. “Such observational studies are comparing apples and oranges,” he said.

The morphology findings could also explain the worse outcomes in women as short aneurysm necks are especially common in women.

“In the future, new, widely available endovascular strategies for rupture in short necked aneurysms are needed and results following rupture should report juxta-renal and infra-renal aneurysms separately,” Hinchliffe said.

“Aneurysm morphology indicates whether a patient with ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm is eligible for EVAR and may influence the outcome of both EVAR and open surgical repair,” he concluded.

Stick to the IFU

Timothy Resch, Malmö, Sweden, enforced the point that the outcome of EVAR is “excellent if we stick to the IFU and hostile sealing zone anatomy affects the outcome of EVAR negatively both in the short and long term regardless of the device that you use.”

Resch explained that 10—20% of EVAR patients have necks <15mm, and these short infrarenal necks are predictive of initial technical failure, with increased incidence of early and late type 1 endoleak and increased use of intraoperative adjunctive procedures, where the long-term outcome is impaired and endoleaks, migration and late rupture are common.

Referring to a contemporary meta-analysis of 12,000 patients treated with modern devices, 3,039 patients with hostile necks saw an increase in 30-day mortality, intraoperative adjuncts, 30-day migration and an increase in type 1 endoleak at 30 days and one year.

Further, in the ANCHOR registry, Resch noted, a regression and ROC analysis was used to try to find predictive factors for type 1a endoleak which showed that the diameter of the neck correlates with poor outcome, as does the anatomic neck length. “This actually provides some solid data for calculating the risk in the individual patient,” he said.

“So one option of course in these short juxta pararenal aneurysms is to seal higher above and use the fenestrated and incorporate the visceral arteries in your repair. Does that solve the problem of the proximal endoleaks? Again, it depends on how you use the graft,” Resch suggested.

Making a case from some of his own data and that of a study at the Cleveland Clinic, USA. “We found no cases with proximal type 1 endoleaks during long-term follow-up of these patients. So maybe this is the solution for everything—using it in the right context. In a larger series from the Cleveland Clinic analysing over 900 patients with fenestrated grafts, indeed there was a 2.8% incidence of late type 1a endoleak occurring in a steady fashion over time and almost half after a year post-operatively. Looking at the risk factor in that series, what they identified again was a poor sealing zone, just as you would in an infrarenal neck and more that 10% was diameter change and they also found that the sealing zone was much more unstable in the juxtarenal vs. more proximal aorta. So from the clinical perspective, we have learned from that and we now place more fenestrations on the graft to reach a healthy sealing zone, which in our series, combined with the series from Lille with 300 patients, resulted in a higher placement of the endograft than we initially did without affecting the operative mortality or the one-year outcome,” he reported.

70% say going “off-label” to use EVAR in necks less than 10mm in length can be sensible 2015-07-11T02:23:22+00:00