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Virtual LEARNing 

08-07-2020 15:25

SIR prepares for first virtual LEARN meeting nRSQvaUhRsidBzdkyI3v_Twitter_Bird2.png

By Bret Wiechmann, MD, FSIR  2020 PAD supplement

The incidence of PAD and CLI/CLTI is increasing, and enthusiasm and opportunity for treating PAD patients is exploding. New approaches, techniques and delivery models are continuously being developed. Now is the time to go “all in” with PAD education!

As we approach the dog days of summer and contend with the many issues facing our country, vascular enthusiasts have been asking about the plans for the 2020 Lower Extremity Arterial RevascularizatioN (LEARN) meeting. The Program Committee assures you that we have been working behind the scenes to deliver a quality program.

This past summer, SIR 2020 VIRtual was a very successful weekend program with tremendous participation: 474 participants in the PAD/CLI Bootcamp session alone. Recognizing the continuing impact of COVID-19, we are excited to announce that LEARN 2020 will shift to a virtual experience—LEARN Live 2000, which will take place on Oct. 2, 2020. Learn more and register at

LEARN Live 2020 will offer an unmatched combination of real-world PAD/CLI cases, supported by up-to-date trial results, basic and advanced content, and panel debates and discussions. That is, we plan to deliver current, relevant content in the same provocative and interactive environment that LEARN has been known for since it began.

The meeting will feature tremendous didactic material along with both pre-recorded cases and live cases—a new twist on the agenda. In 2012, LEARN began showing pre-recorded cases in which the speaker shared the thought processes of the case, with audience participation—now a trademark part of the program. In these sessions, the panel probes the details of each case, challenging the operator along the way. Showing the real-time cine loops of a case provides attendees with the tempo and cadence of basic to complex arterial interventions.

Another key element will be practice development sessions, which are a consistent theme throughout the LEARN program. Practice models vary from region to region. Many IRs interested in PAD treatment practice in traditional academic or private practices. The growth and development of office-based labs (OBLs) and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) offers a new delivery model for PAD treatment. LEARN Live 2020 will explore the potential and possibilities of this type of practice and how it can be done safely and effectively, while maintaining the highest standards of care.

Each year’s program also highlights select hot topics to discuss and debate. Last year, we dove deep into the paclitaxel issue and the impact of a potentially increased signal of mortality with use of this antiproliferative strategy for PAD/CLI patients—an issue still debated 2 years after the initial article appeared in the literature. At other previous LEARN meetings, we addressed peripheral embolization, EVAR/AAA, pulmonary artery intervention and renal denervation.

A key component of all LEARN meetings is the always-popular dedicated hands-on sessions. Undoubtedly, the PAD interventional space is dependent on evolving technology and many of the devices are highly nuanced. It’s one thing to see a device in use from afar and another thing entirely to get your hands on the actual device, play with it and run it through a flow model prior to using it in a patient. Our industry supporters, who say that they have found this to be an exceptional opportunity as well, offer focused education on their specific tools. The captive audience at LEARN—a highly engaged and interested group of physicians—provides an excellent return on investment for our partners in industry.

As we move through summer and into fall, I hope you sincerely consider attending LEARN Live 2020 to take advantage of an incredible PAD educational offering. See you virtually on Oct. 2!

Note: This article was written in August as LEARN plans were underway. Check back in late October for highlights of the virtual meeting.


LEARN delivers

Those who have attended previous LEARN meetings, from IRs-in-training to mid-career physicians, attest to the opportunity to dive deep into PAD.

“The LEARN meeting was a great asset to my IR training and I highly recommend it. Being able to spend several days focusing on PAD/CLI and learning from leaders at the forefront of the field was not only a valuable complement to my fellowship, but also inspired me to learn more about PAD prevention and management in an effort to improve patient care in this population.”

Kirema Garcia Reyes, MD (first-time attendee), on LEARN 2019.


“The LEARN conference has been an invaluable resource as I have founded and grown my clinic-based PAD service over the past 7 years. The sessions educate about the latest technologies and techniques employed by the most well-known endovascular specialists in the country. The relatively small, intimate setting encourages audience interaction and the speakers are always happy to answer questions or discuss a challenging case on or off the stage.”

—Roman G. Politi, MD (four-time attendee)

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