ARRS organizers credit record-breaking attendance to program, not setting

April 28, 2006

Forget the stunning scenery, the friendly locals, and the bustling metropolitan center of Vancouver. Organizers of this year’s American Roentgen Ray Society meeting swear that a huge influx of new registrants is mainly due to the robust educational program -- not the beauty of the host city.

Forget the stunning scenery, the friendly locals, and the bustling metropolitan center of Vancouver. Organizers of this year's American Roentgen Ray Society meeting swear that a huge influx of new registrants is mainly due to the robust educational program - not the beauty of the host city.

Attendance for the April 29 to May 5 meeting is up by 22% compared with last year's event in New Orleans, to 2000 registrants. Even though attendance has been growing consistently in recent years, this increase broke records, according to the organizers. Fairly early on in the registration process, the ARRS-aligned hotels booked up, and it became necessary to suggest alternative accommodations.

"This is significant jump over last year," said ARRS president Dr. Bruce McClennan.

He admits Vancouver is a nice city with a mild climate but insists the main attraction is the educational lineup. For example, 500 people, one-quarter of total registrants, plan to attend the daily categorical course. This year's focus on body MRI has proven popular, as shown by the 30% increase in registration over the 2005 categorical course on cardiopulmonary imaging.

As MRI technology moves to higher field strengths - from 1.5T to 3T -

radiologists face a learning curve, McClennan said. A first-rate international lineup of physicians in the categorical course could help fill the education gap.

In the scientific sessions, hot topics include radiofrequency ablation.

"Minimally invasive therapies have been hot for years," McClennan said. "RF ablation has been out long enough for us to now look at small series of patients and determine where the technique fits in the treatment milieu."

Another sizzling topic in the scientific sessions is reduction of radiation exposure from multislice CT.

"With the proliferation of MSCT, awareness is growing that the radiation dose can be higher than with older scanners. There is a need to raise consciousness and educate radiologists about how to get a high-quality study without excess radiation exposure," McClennan said.

For the first time, the ARRS meeting offers practical, case-based daily sessions in general radiology. These are open to all but proving especially popular with residents preparing to take their medical board exams. Throughout the course, 300 cases will be presented to registrants.

The final day of the meeting will feature a session on new issues in cancer imaging. Interest has grown in developing closer working relationships between radiologists and radiation oncologists, McClennan said. The forum will explore collaborative partnerships.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives

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