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Prior Authorization Requirements In The Office-Based Laboratory Setting Are Administratively Inefficient And Threaten Timeliness Of Care

Harish, Keerthi B; Chervonski, Ethan; Speranza, Giancarlo; Maldonado, Thomas S; Garg, Karan; Sadek, Mikel; Rockman, Caron B; Jacobowitz, Glenn R; Berland, Todd L
OBJECTIVE:The objective of this study was to investigate the administrative and clinical impacts of prior authorization (PA) processes in the Office-Based Laboratory (OBL) setting. METHODS:This single-institution retrospective analysis studied all OBL PAs pursued between January 2018 and March 2022. Case, PA, and coding information was obtained from the practice's scheduling database. RESULTS:Over the study period, 1,854 OBL cases were scheduled; 8% (n=146) required PA. Of these, 75% (n=110) were for lower extremity arterial interventions, 19% (n=27) were for deep venous interventions, and 6% (n=9) were for other interventions. Of 146 PAs, 19% (n=27) were initially denied but 74.1% (n=7) of these were overturned on appeal. Deep venous procedures were initially denied, at 43.8% (n=14) more often than were arterial procedures, at 11.8% (n=13). Of 146 requested procedures, 4% (n=6) were delayed due to pending prior authorization determination by a mean 14.2±18.3 working days. An additional 6% (n=8) of procedures were performed in the interest of time prior to final determination. Of the 7 terminally denied procedures, 57% (n=4) were performed at cost to the practice based on clinical judgment. CONCLUSIONS:Utilizing prior authorization appeals mechanisms, while administratively onerous, resulted in the overturning of most initial denials.
PMID: 38135169
ISSN: 1097-6809
CID: 5611912

Safety and efficacy of endovenous ablation in patients with a history of deep vein thrombosis

Chervonski, Ethan; Muqri, Furqan; Jacobowitz, Glenn R; Rockman, Caron B; Maldonado, Thomas S; Berland, Todd L; Garg, Karan; Cayne, Neal S; Sadek, Mikel
OBJECTIVE:Endovenous ablation is the standard of care for patients with symptomatic superficial venous insufficiency. For patients with a history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), concern exists for an increased risk of postprocedural complications, particularly venous thromboembolism. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of endovenous thermal ablation in patients with a history of DVT. METHODS:The national Vascular Quality Initiative Varicose Vein Registry was queried for superficial venous procedures performed from January 2014 to July 2021. Limbs treated with radiofrequency or laser ablation were compared between patients with and without a DVT history. The primary safety end point was incident DVT or endothermal heat-induced thrombosis (EHIT) II-IV in the treated limb at <3 months of follow-up. The secondary safety end points included any proximal thrombus extension (ie, EHIT I-IV), major bleeding, hematoma, pulmonary embolism, and death due to the procedure. The primary efficacy end point was technical failure (ie, recanalization at <1 week of follow-up). Secondary efficacy end points included the risk of recanalization over time and the postprocedural change in quality-of-life measures. Outcomes stratified by preoperative use of anticoagulation (AC) were also compared among those with prior DVT. RESULTS:Among 33,892 endovenous thermal ablations performed on 23,572 individual patients aged 13 to 90 years, 1698 patients (7.2%) had a history of DVT. Patients with prior DVT were older (P < .001), had a higher body mass index (P < .001), were more likely to be male at birth (P < .001) and Black/African American (P < .001), and had greater CEAP classifications (P < .001). A history of DVT conferred a higher risk of new DVT (1.4% vs 0.8%; P = .03), proximal thrombus extension (2.3% vs 1.6%; P = .045), and bleeding (0.2% vs 0.04%; P = .03). EHIT II-IV, pulmonary embolism, and hematoma risk did not differ by DVT history (P = NS). No deaths from treatment occurred in either group. Continuing preoperative AC in patients with prior DVT did not change the risk of any complications after endovenous ablation (P = NS) but did confer an increased hematoma risk among all endovenous thermal ablations and surgeries (P = .001). Technical failure was similar between groups (2.0% vs 1.2%; P = .07), although a history of DVT conferred an increased recanalization risk over time (hazard ratio, 1.90; 95% confidence interval, 1.46, 2.46; P < .001). The groups had comparable improvements in postprocedural venous clinical severity scores and Heaviness, Aching, Swelling, Throbbing, and Itching scores (P = NS). CONCLUSIONS:Endovenous thermal ablation for patients with a history of DVT was effective. However, appropriate patient counseling regarding a heightened DVT risk, albeit still low, is critical. The decision to continue or withhold AC preoperatively should be tailored on a case-by-case basis.
PMID: 38677553
ISSN: 2213-3348
CID: 5657962

Generative artificial intelligence chatbots may provide appropriate informational responses to common vascular surgery questions by patients

Chervonski, Ethan; Harish, Keerthi B; Rockman, Caron B; Sadek, Mikel; Teter, Katherine A; Jacobowitz, Glenn R; Berland, Todd L; Lohr, Joann; Moore, Colleen; Maldonado, Thomas S
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a promising tool to engage with patients. The objective of this study was to assess the quality of AI responses to common patient questions regarding vascular surgery disease processes. METHODS:OpenAI's ChatGPT-3.5 and Google Bard were queried with 24 mock patient questions spanning seven vascular surgery disease domains. Six experienced vascular surgery faculty at a tertiary academic center independently graded AI responses on their accuracy (rated 1-4 from completely inaccurate to completely accurate), completeness (rated 1-4 from totally incomplete to totally complete), and appropriateness (binary). Responses were also evaluated with three readability scales. RESULTS:> .05 for all analyses). CONCLUSIONS:AI offers a novel means of educating patients that avoids the inundation of information from "Dr Google" and the time barriers of physician-patient encounters. ChatGPT provides largely valid, though imperfect, responses to myriad patient questions at the expense of readability. While Bard responses are more readable and concise, their quality is poorer. Further research is warranted to better understand failure points for large language models in vascular surgery patient education.
PMID: 38500300
ISSN: 1708-539x
CID: 5640272

The Effect of Ipsilateral Carotid Revascularization on Contralateral Carotid Duplex Parameters in Patients with Bilateral Carotid Stenosis

Ratner, Molly; Rockman, Caron; Chandra, Pratik; Cayne, Neal; Jacobowitz, Glenn; Lamparello, Patrick J; Maldonado, Thomas; Sadek, Mikel; Berland, Todd; Garg, Karan
BACKGROUND:Duplex-derived velocity measurements are often used to determine the need for carotid revascularization. There is evidence that severe ipsilateral carotid stenosis can cause artificially elevated velocities in the contralateral carotid artery, which may decrease following ipsilateral revascularization. The objective of this study was to determine if contralateral carotid artery duplex velocities decrease following ipsilateral carotid endarterectomy or stenting procedures. METHODS:This is a single institutional retrospective study of prospectively collected data on all patients who underwent carotid revascularization from 2013 to 2021. Patients with immediate preoperative and first postoperative Duplex scan within 4 months of carotid revascularization at our vascular laboratory were included for analysis. Patients with contralateral occlusion were excluded. Duplex criteria used to define moderate (50-69%) and severe (>70%) stenosis were systolic velocity ≥125 cm/sec and ≥230 cm/sec, respectively. RESULTS:Between 2013 and 2021, 129 patients with bilateral carotid stenosis underwent either carotid endarterectomy (98) or a stenting procedure (31). The majority of patients (90%) underwent intervention for severe stenosis. Preoperatively, the contralateral artery was categorized as severe in 30.4% patients. After ipsilateral carotid revascularization, 86 patients (67.2%) saw a decrease in the contralateral artery peak systolic velocity (PSV), while the remaining remained stable or increased. Fifty-four patients had a change in designated stenosis severity in the contralateral artery. Between the carotid endarterectomy and stenting cohorts, there was no significant difference in the proportion of patients whose contralateral velocity decreased (69.4% vs. 61.3%, P = 0.402). Patients with coronary artery disease and diabetes were significantly less likely to experience a decrease in the contralateral artery PSV after ipsilateral intervention (P = 0.018 and P = 0.033). CONCLUSIONS:In patients with bilateral carotid disease, ipsilateral revascularization can change the contralateral artery velocity and perceived disease severity. Most patients were noted to have a decrease in the contralateral artery PSV, although almost one-third either stayed stable or increased. On multivariable analysis, patients with coronary artery disease and diabetes were less likely to see a decrease in the contralateral artery PSV after intervention. Patients who are at risk for artificial elevation of the contralateral artery may warrant a re-evaluation of the contralateral artery after ipsilateral intervention. These patients are potentially better assessed with axial imaging, although further research is needed.
PMID: 37918660
ISSN: 1615-5947
CID: 5620402

Relationship between iliofemoral venous stenting and femoropopliteal deep venous reflux

Pergamo, Matthew; Kabnick, Lowell S; Jacobowitz, Glenn R; Rockman, Caron B; Maldonado, Thomas S; Berland, Todd L; Blumberg, Sheila; Sadek, Mikel
OBJECTIVE:Severe presentations of chronic venous insufficiency can result from reflux or obstruction at the deep venous, perforator, or superficial venous levels. Iliofemoral venous stenting can be used to address central venous obstruction; however, its effects on deep venous reflux (DVR) have remained unclear. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of iliac vein stenting on femoropopliteal DVR with the hypothesis that ultrasound evidence of DVR would remain absent or would have improved after iliac vein stenting. METHODS:The present study was a retrospective review of patients who had undergone iliofemoral venous stenting from 2013 to 2018. The patients were divided into two cohorts according to the preprocedural presence (group A) or absence (group B) of femoropopliteal DVR. Baseline patient variables were collected, including age, gender, CEAP (clinical, etiologic, anatomic, pathophysiologic) class, presence of concomitant superficial or perforator reflux, deep vein thrombosis history, and additional venous interventions. The primary outcome evaluated was the persistent absence or resolution of DVR on the latest venous duplex ultrasound at follow-up. Other outcomes included the follow-up CEAP classification and the need for secondary deep venous interventions. RESULTS:A total of 275 consecutive patients had undergone iliofemoral venous stenting. Of the 275 patients, 58 had presented with DVR (group A). A comparison of groups A and B revealed that group A had had a greater likelihood of prior deep vein thrombosis (P = .0001) and a higher frequency of superficial venous ablation. The remaining demographic variables did not differ significantly between the two groups. Of the 58 patients in group A, DVR had resolved at follow-up in 17 (P = .0001). When stratified by level, 7 of these 17 patients had had isolated popliteal reflux. In group B, DVR had developed at follow-up in 6 of the 217 patients. The CEAP class had improved from before intervention (C0, 1.1%; C1, 0.4%; C2, 1.8%; C3, 41.4%; C4, 24.9%; C5, 5.9%; C6, 24.5%) to the latest follow up (C0, 4.9%; C1, 1.9%; C2, 5.7%; C3, 34.2%; C4, 22.8%; C5, 17.1%; C6, 13.3%). Significant improvement had occurred in C6 disease within both groups (group A, 16 of 58 [27.6%; P = .0078]; group B, 19 of 217 [8.8%; P = .0203]). CONCLUSIONS:For patients who undergo iliofemoral venous stenting, DVR could improve if present initially and is unlikely to develop if not present before stenting. A cohort of patients had experienced persistent DVR and warranted further evaluation. Prospective studies are required to corroborate the safety, efficacy, and durability of iliofemoral venous stenting for patients with DVR.
PMID: 35995328
ISSN: 2213-3348
CID: 5331522

Superficial Venous Procedures can be Performed Safely and Effectively in Patients with Deep Venous Reflux

Li, Chong; Jacobowitz, Glenn R; Rockman, Caron B; Maldonado, Thomas S; Berland, Todd L; Garg, Karan; Barfield, Michael; Sadek, Mikel
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:The finding of concurrent deep venous reflux (DVR) when interrogating superficial venous reflux is common and might be a marker for more severe chronic venous insufficiency. However, the safety, clinical and patient reported outcomes in patients undergoing superficial venous treatment in the presence of DVR remains underreported. Moreover, factors associated with persistence and disappearance of DVR after superficial vein treatments have not been evaluated. This study sought to address these questions. METHODS:This study was a review of the institutional vascular quality initiative (VQI) database from June 2016 to June 2021. Consecutive patient-limbs were identified who underwent a superficial venous intervention and had duplex evaluation. These patients were then divided into those with and without DVR. Those with DVR were further reviewed for anatomical details and persistence or resolution of DVR following the procedure. The primary outcome was the venous clinical severity score (VCSS) at follow-up greater than 3 months. Secondary outcomes included the incidence of any postoperative deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or endovenous heat-induced thrombosis (EHIT), differences in patient-reported outcomes, rate of resolution of DVR, and factors associated with DVR persistence. Both univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression were applied. RESULTS:In patients who underwent superficial venous treatments 644 patient-limbs had DVR and 7812 did not, for a prevalence of 7.6%. The former group was associated with a higher burden of chronic venous insufficiency. On univariate analysis, patient-limbs, both with and without DVR, improved significantly in VCSS at less than 3 months follow-up, and were not significantly different. At greater than 3 months follow-up, the VCSS score again improved significantly compared to less than 3 months follow-up, but the two groups differed significantly at the longer interval. The magnitude of improvement in VCSS between the two groups at the longer follow-up were statistically similar (3.17±3.11 vs 3.03±2.93, P =0.739). HASTI score similarly improved significantly in both groups, but remained significantly higher in the DVR group on follow-up. On multivariate logistic regression, DVR was not associated with an increased VCSS at greater than 3 months follow-up. There was no intergroup difference in postoperative DVT or EHIT. 40.8% of limbs with DVR no longer had evidence of detectable DVR at the latest follow-up venous duplex, and DVR limited to single segment were more likely to be no longer detectable versus multi-segments. CONCLUSIONS:Superficial venous procedures are safe and effective in patients with DVR, leading to improvements in clinical and patient reported outcomes as they would for those without DVR. In a large proportion of the treated limbs, especially in those with DVR in a single segment, there is no longer evidence of DVR following superficial venous intervention. Although patients with DVR have a higher burden of chronic venous insufficiency, they appear to still derive significant benefit from superficial venous treatments.
PMID: 36368475
ISSN: 2213-3348
CID: 5357632

Direct Oral Anticoagulants May Be Safe in Patients Undergoing Endovenous Radiofrequency and Laser Ablation

Chang, Heepeel; Sadek, Mikel; Barfield, Michael E; Rockman, Caron B; Maldonado, Thomas S; Cayne, Neal S; Berland, Todd L; Garg, Karan; Jacobowitz, Glenn R
OBJECTIVE:Studies assessing the effect of anticoagulants on endovenous thermal ablation (ETA) are limited to patients on warfarin. As such, the aim of this study was to assess the efficacy and safety of ETA in patients taking direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs). We hypothesized that the outcome of ETA in patients taking DOAC is not superior to the outcome in patients taking DOAC. METHODS:A retrospective review was performed to identify patients undergoing radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) with 1470 nm diode laser fibers for symptomatic great or small saphenous venous reflux from 2018 to 2020. Patients were dichotomized into those receiving therapeutic dose of DOACs peri-procedurally and those not receiving anticoagulants (control). Outcomes of interest included the rates of treated vein closure at 7-days and 9-months, deep venous thrombosis (DVT), endothermal heat-induced thrombosis (EHIT) and bleeding peri-procedurally. RESULTS:There were 87 procedures performed in 69 patients receiving DOACs and 295 procedures in 232 control patients. Patients receiving DOACs were more often older (mean, 65 years vs 55 years; P<.001) and male (70% vs 37%; P<.001), with higher prevalence of venous thromboembolism and more severe CEAP classification (5 or 6), compared to control patients. Those receiving DOAC were more likely to have history of DVT (44% vs 6%; P<.001), PE (13% vs 0%; P<.001) and phlebitis (32% vs 15%; P<.001). Procedurally, RFA was used more frequently in the control group (92% vs 84%; P=.029), with longer segments of vein treated (mean 38 mm vs 35 mm, respectively; P=.028). No major or minor bleeding events nor any EHITs occurred in either group. Two patients (0.7%) in the control group developed DVT whereas no DVT was observed in the those receiving DOAC (P=.441). At 9-months, the treated vein remained ablated after 94.4% of procedures performed in patients receiving DOACs and 98.4% of controls (P=.163). On multivariable analysis, DOAC was not associated with an increased risk of vein recanalization (hazard ratio, 5.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.57-58.64; P=.139). An increased pre-procedural vein diameter and EVLA were associated with an increased risk of recanalization. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:In this study of patients undergoing ETA for symptomatic saphenous venous reflux, peri-procedural use of DOAC did not adversely affect the efficacy of endovenous ablation to at least 9-months. Furthermore, it did not confer additional risk of bleeding, DVT and EHIT peri-procedurally. As such, the early outcome of ETA in patients not taking DOAC may not be superior to the outcome in patients taking DOAC.
PMID: 35872143
ISSN: 2213-3348
CID: 5276102

Hypogastric Artery Flow Interruption is Associated with Increased Mortality After Open Aortic Repair

Zhang, Jason; Chang, Heepeel; Rockman, Caron; Patel, Virendra I; Veeraswamy, Ravi; Berland, Todd; Ramkhelawon, Bhama; Maldonado, Thomas; Cayne, Neal; Jacobowitz, Glenn; Garg, Karan
BACKGROUND:Potential complications of pelvic flow disruption during aortic aneurysm repair include buttock ischemia and mesenteric ischemia. Unilateral or bilateral hypogastric artery flow interruption, either from atherosclerosis or intentionally to facilitate aneurysm repair, is considered problematic in endovascular repair; however, it has not been well studied in open abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair (OAR). We sought to examine the effect of interruption of flow to one or both hypogastric arteries on outcomes after OAR. METHODS:The Society for Vascular Surgery Quality Initiative database was queried for all patients undergoing elective open AAA repair between 2003 and 2020. (redundant) Patients with appropriate data on their hypogastric arteries postoperatively were stratified into two groups-patent bilaterally (normal pelvic perfusion, NPP) and unilateral or bilateral occlusion or ligation (compromised pelvic perfusion, CPP). Primary endpoints were 30-day major morbidity (myocardial infarction, respiratory complications, renal injury, and lower extremity or intestinal ischemia) and mortality. RESULTS:During the study period, 9.492 patients underwent elective open AAA repair-860 (9.1%) with compromised pelvic perfusion and 8,632 (90.9%) with patent bilateral hypogastric arteries. The groups had similar cardiac risk factors, including a history of coronary artery disease, prior coronary intervention, and the use of P2Y12 inhibitors and statins. A majority of patients in the CPP cohort had concurrent iliac aneurysms (63.3% vs. 24.8%; P < 0.001). The perioperative mortality was significantly higher in patients with compromised pelvic perfusion (5.5% vs. 3.1%; P < 0.001). Bilateral flow interruption had a trend toward higher perioperative mortality compared to unilateral interruption (7.1% vs. 4.7%; P < 0.147). The CPP group also had increased rates of myocardial injury (6.7% vs. 4.7%; P = 0.012), renal complications (18.9% vs. 15.9%; P = 0.024), leg and bowel ischemia (3.5% vs. 2.1%; P = 0.008; and 5.7% vs. 3.4%; P < 0.001, respectively). On multivariable analysis, CPP was associated with increased perioperative mortality (OR 1.47, CI 1.14-1.88, P = 0.003). On Kaplan-Meier analysis, there was no difference in survival at 2 years postdischarge between the NPP and CPP cohorts (86.1% vs. 87.5%, log-rank P = 0.275). CONCLUSIONS:Compromised pelvic perfusion is associated with increased perioperative complications and higher mortality in patients undergoing OAR. The sequelae of losing pelvic perfusion, in addition to the presence of more complex atherosclerotic and aneurysmal disease resulting in more difficult dissection, likely contribute to these findings. Thus, patients considered for OAR who have occluded hypogastric arteries or aneurysmal involvement of the hypogastric artery preoperatively may be candidates for more conservative management beyond traditional size criteria.
PMID: 35654287
ISSN: 1615-5947
CID: 5236152

A Single-Center Experience of Anterior Accessory Saphenous Vein Endothermal Ablation Demonstrates Safety and Efficacy

Charitable, John; Speranza, Giancarlo; Rockman, Caron; Jacobowitz, Glenn; Kabnick, Lowell; Garg, Karan; Maldonado, Thomas; Berland, Todd; Cayne, Neal; Barfield, Michael; Sadek, Mikel
OBJECTIVE:Endothermal ablation is well established for the treatment of the great and small saphenous veins. Data are lacking for treatment of the Anterior Accessory Saphenous Vein (AASV). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of AASV treatment using endothermal ablation. METHODS:This was a retrospective review of 314 limbs at a single academic institution from 2016-2018 using the institutional Vascular Quality Initiative database. All limbs had documented AASV reflux. Baseline characteristics were evaluated including age, sex, ethnicity, CEAP (clinical, etiology, anatomy, pathophysiology) classification, Venous Clinical Severity Score (VCSS), and vein diameter. Outcomes relating to procedure safety and efficacy included treatment modality and length, successful ablation on post-operative imaging, post-procedural clinical outcomes, incidence of endothermal heat induced thrombosis (EHIT), and any post-procedural complication. RESULTS:A total of 314 consecutive limbs were identified from 2016-2018. Pre-procedure VCSS scores were available for 312 limbs and averaged 6.13 ± 3.33. History of varicose veins were reported in all limbs with 49.4% (n=155) having previously undergone a procedure. The most common presenting symptom was mild edema in 52.5% (n=165). Vein diameter and assessment of reflux were obtained by venous duplex ultrasound (DUS). The largest AASV diameter was available for 304 limbs, averaging 7.93 ± 2.69 mm. Treatment modalities included radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in 59.2% (n=186), endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) in 37.9% (n=119), and isolated microphlebectomy in 2.9% (n=9). 38.5% (N=121) of limbs underwent concomitant microphlebectomy at the time of EVLA. Total treatment length was obtained in 297 limbs, averaging 23.0 cm ± 12.0. Post-operatively, 94.6% (n=297) of limbs were prescribed compression stockings. Post-operative DUS was performed in 312 limbs, revealing successful ablation in 96.5% (n=303) with 2 limbs (0.6%) developing an EHIT, both treated with therapeutic enoxaparin for one week. Repeat DUS revealed thrombus resolution in one limb, while the other patient was lost to follow-up. VCSS scores post-procedure were available for 145 limbs and averaged 4.45 ± 2.31. This was a statistically significant decrease from pre-procedure VCSS scores (p<0.01). Average duration of follow-up was 2.2 years, with two limbs lost to follow-up. Of the 9 limbs (3.5%) whose initial procedure failed, 5 (56%) were treated using RFA and 4 (44%) were treated using EVLA. There were no other post-operative complications. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Our experience over a three-year period for treating the AASV shows it to be safe and effective in a broad range of disease severity with an improvement in VCSS and a low incidence of EHIT. Additionally, RFA and EVLA exhibit similar treatment efficacy. Long-term follow-up data are needed.
PMID: 35218957
ISSN: 2213-3348
CID: 5172682

Response to clopidogrel in patients undergoing lower extremity revascularization

Tawil, Michael; Maldonado, Thomas S; Xia, Yuhe; Berland, Todd; Cayne, Neal; Jacobowitz, Glenn; Lugo, Joanelle; Lamparello, Patrick; Sadek, Mikel; Rockman, Caron; Berger, Jeffrey S
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:Clopidogrel is effective at decreasing cardiovascular events in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD); however, its effect on limb outcomes are less known. This study investigated the variability in response to clopidogrel and its relationship with clinical limb outcomes. METHODS: RESULTS: CONCLUSIONS:Among patients undergoing lower extremity revascularization on clopidogrel, higher baseline percent aggregation is associated with increased risk for major adverse limb events.
PMID: 35590464
ISSN: 1708-539x
CID: 5284322