November 10-15

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ACR Convergence 2023

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Session to offer long string of clinical pearls to benefit rheumatologists


3 minutes

Jason Kolfenbach, MD
Jason Kolfenbach, MD

This year’s Rheumatology Top Secrets and Pearls session will deliver practical clinical tips that rheumatologists can apply when evaluating and caring for their patients.

“We’re hoping to tackle some challenging areas in day-to-day practice that don’t always fit in the traditional talks that are given at the meeting,” said Jason Kolfenbach, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine-Rheumatology, University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Dr. Kolfenbach and John H. Stone, MD, MPH, the Edward A. Fox Chair in Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, will present the session. The first airing, complete with a live question-and-answer session, will take place from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8. Registered attendees can watch a replay through Wednesday, March 11, with 24/7 online video access.

Dr. Kolfenbach’s professional interests include inflammatory eye disease and systemic sclerosis, while Dr. Stone has special expertise in vasculitis and plans to address giant cell arteritis, ANCA-associated vasculits, other forms of vasculitis, and IgG4-related disease. But both physicians have teaching and leadership experience that will help them draw from a wide range of areas that appeal to all clinicians.

John H. Stone, MD, MPH
John H. Stone, MD, MPH

“This session is extremely practical and relevant to practice,” Dr. Stone said. “It will refer to data when helpful, but it won’t be completely beholden to data because so many times we have to make our clinical decisions in rheumatology in the absence of good data and rely on a clinician’s experience rather than a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.”

The format of the Top Secrets and Pearls differs from the standard educational sessions at ACR Convergence. Most sessions, Dr. Kolfenbach noted, offer great information while focusing on a specific clinical area, question or new research result. This session, on the other hand, will include small, practical pieces of information and tips on management across a wide variety of conditions. The session seeks to provide some advice that resonates concerning many challenging areas of day-to-day practice that don’t always fit into the more traditional meeting format, and do it in a fun and engaging way.

“Many of the sessions at the annual meeting come from a standpoint of: Here’s an established disease, and this is the newest, latest and greatest, in terms of treatment or monitoring,” Dr. Kolfenbach said. “But what about when the clinical diagnosis is uncertain, or a physician is presented with data that is difficult to interpret? Dr. Stone and I are interested in covering some of these clinical scenarios as well. For example: This is a person presenting with a specific symptom or syndrome, and these might be some tips or tricks in order to help you arrive at a diagnosis, or consider this mimicker of disease that you need to rule out before anchoring on a clinical diagnosis.”

The second edition of Dr. Stone’s book—“A Clinician’s Pearls and Myths in Rheumatology”—is slated for publication in 2021. He co-presented this session last year. This year, he will again dispel some rheumatology myths and discuss previous guidelines that have now been disproven.

“There are myths that used to be pearls, but they are no longer correct because of the evolution of practice,” Dr. Stone said. “Rheumatology has advanced dramatically, but certain misconceptions and wives’ tales, i.e., myths, continue to be passed down from generation to generation. In addition, the recognition of new diseases, knowledge of new autoantibodies, improvements in imaging, and breakthroughs in therapy all create entirely new sets of pearls and myths in rheumatology.  It’s an ever-regenerating process.”