Prof Ibsen Lecture – from pandemic to ESAIC
Today, Saturday 4 June, 1000-1030H, Silver Room
In January this year, Prof Kai Zacharwoski finished his term as ESAIC President, having been at the helm during some of the society’s most challenging years as our members and the organisation itself battled and adjusted to pandemic life.
Kai is Director of the Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care Medicine & Pain Therapy, University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany, and is an intensive care specialist – and it was of course fitting that he should be President as the former ESA became the new European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care – ESAIC. Like many of our delegates, he has served on the front line during the pandemic.
Q: Kai, welcome to Euroanaesthesia and tell us how it feels to be attending in person again?
A: After two years of not attending “my own congress” when I was President, I am delighted to meet friends and colleagues from all over the world once again. I am looking forward to a fruitful exchange of information and news.
Q: Before we talk about your Prof Ibsen lecture, there is something else to say – congratulations on your nomination as one of this year’s ESAIC Honorary Members! You join many other distinguished colleagues, including your fellow Past Presidents Daniela Filipescu and Stefan De Hert on this list. Tell us how you feel about this award?
A: I am speechless and overwhelmed. What an honour to join the colleagues you mention and so many others. It has been my privilege to work with the society.
Q: We are at a bit of a crossroads with the COVID pandemic. On the one hand, people want to move on and enjoy life again, but on the other, we have been through so much and medicine has learned so much. Especially the fields of intensive care medicine and anaesthesiology. What do you think society has learned most from this pandemic?
A: The main caregivers for the 4 waves of COVID-19 were anaesthesiologists/intensivists. Therefore, it was clear to finalise the name change and to spread the word. The world now knows much more about the vital roles we have in the whole system of healthcare.
Q: Which brings us on to today’s lecture. What are some of the themes you are going to cover?
A: I don’t want to give too much away…however, the first ICU in Europe was founded in Denmark in 1952/53. The “cause”? A pandemic with polio. And as such, you can see there are similarities with this new pandemic almost 70 years later…
Q: In your interview at Euroanaesthesia 2021, you talked a little about some COVID-related research projects, including the ENVISION study which is collecting ICU data of COVID-19 patients in several EU-countries, to then use artificial intelligence to find novel treatment options. How is this going?
A: Thank you for asking and addressing this topic. The EU has funded us including ESAIC with 6 million euros. We have generated the data which now will be analysed and used to train our system – and the artificial intelligence software will look for new treatments for COVID-19. I’d also like to mention our second project which also has been funded by the EU (COVend, 10 million euros). We have developed a drug to reduce the worsening of COVID-19 infection. Further details on these important projects can be found below:
Q: Euroanaesthesia’s 2022 program is more fantastic and varied than ever before. Now you are Past President will you have time to go to some more sessions? Tell us what has caught your eye.
A: As immediate PAST-President, you still have tons of meetings and other obligations. Next year I can attend sessions I really would like to!
Thanks so much Kai, have a great congress – in a later edition of the newsletter we will talk more with you about one of your other projects, how to become a Fellow of ESAIC (FESAIC).
Read More of our special newsletter covering our congress.