Yesterday saw the beginning of the two-day CX Venous Workshop, in which delegates can enjoy expert demonstrations of a selection of the most interesting and important phlebological technologies currently in use. Now in its seventh year, the event continues to attract more and more delegates to its plethora of new and established technologies, and this year occupied its largest space ever on the Upper Level of the Gallery. The first day of the workshop largely focused on varicose vein treatment and superficial venous issues.

Ian Franklin (Imperial College, London, UK) is leading the workshop over both days, and has done since it first featured at the Charing Cross Symposium seven years ago. He explained, “I think it is important to provide a combination of the big plenary sessions in the hall and smaller interactive workshops like this one—not all techniques and discussions lend themselves the plenary environment. By providing these training stations and this small-group one-to-one teaching format, it means that people can interact in a much more informal, personal level.”

Over its seven years the workshop has grown and changed, keeping pace with the changing face of the vascular field. “The needs have changed,” Franklin commented. “When we first started doing this it was an office-based varicose vein course. Now it is far more than that. We have found that quite a lot of the techniques that people were hungry to learn at the beginning are ‘old hat’ now, so each year we offer new things. Now people are hungry to learn deep vein stenting, intravascular ultrasound, non-thermal techniques for treating veins, and so on. This year we have some completely new things that people will not have seen before.”

Given the quality of the Charing Cross faculty, such one-to-one interaction presents an exciting educational opportunity. “All of our faculty are well-known names and enthusiasts in their field. You can interact with them much better if you talk to them face-to-face rather than if they are up on a podium and you are down in the audience and asking the questions through a microphone. This way you can ask things you might not be able to go into in a lecture theatre.” Franklin added that these face-to-face interactions combine with practical experience, and delegates can “hold the kit in their hands, practice on the simulator and talk through tips and tricks with someone who has done it a lot before—you cannot do that in a lecture theatre.”

The workshop’s layout with multiple training stations also means that delegates can be efficient with their time, heading straight for those stations dealing with subjects they are unfamiliar with. “They do not have to sit through things they already know about, so they can make very efficient use of their time,” Franklin said.

The workshop features both established and new technology. One of the busiest stations yesterday was that of a well-established technology—foam sclerotherapy.  Simon Ashley (Plymouth, UK), was one of the trainers at the station. He spoke to CX Daily News during the workshop, and explained, “Personally it is the first time that I have been involved as a trainer, but I know that it has been running for a number of years and has grown increasingly popular—that is why so much space has been devoted to it.” As to why the station was so busy, Ashley noted that foam sclerotherapy “is a walk-in walk-out treatment that only takes about 20 minutes and there is no down time or restriction of activities afterwards. It is also very attractive for NHS and private practice because it is undoubtedly the most cost-effective treatment.”

In keeping with the Charing Cross Symposium’s passion for innovation, there was also a selection of new techniques and products on show. The Biolas station, exhibiting the company’s non-thermal ablation VariClose vein sealing system, was kept busy throughout the day by curious delegates. The company are attending their first ever Charing Cross Symposium, and chief medical officer, Yunus Çakiroĝlu, told CX Daily News “We are new this year, so I think a lot of people are wondering about our products and our company—they want to find out who we are and what we have at our station. The meeting is very exciting, and the workshop is a great way for the delegates to understand new technology.”

The workshop will continue today with a focus on acute deep vein thrombosis interventions, intravenous ultrasound and deep venous stenting, but still including ablation technologies for superficial veins. The stations open for delegates to visit will include: 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, intravascular ultrasound and deep vein stenting.

Franklin expects the Upper Gallery to be just as busy as it was yesterday thanks to the planning of this year’s programme. He said, “We have made an effort to separate the days this year, with Wednesday focusing more on superficial techniques. On Thursday we are going to have a big focus on deep vein stenting, deep vein thrombosis treatments, pelvic vein embolisation and intravascular ultrasound. These are all quite new for us and should attract a new group, so I expect it to be busy tomorrow as well.”