The 2013 International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) Annual Meeting was held from May 4 to May 7, 2013, at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina in sunny San Diego, California. Over 900 participants representing countries all over the globe were present. The meeting was invigorating and continues to support and stimulate anesthesia-related research in all clinical and nonclinical anesthesia subspecialties. The IARS is the society that remains the epitome of research-evidenced based practices. The IARS 2013 Annual Meeting provided the latest advances in clinical practice and discussed the current controversies worldwide. The collaborative views and research of worldwide anesthesia colleagues provided the attendees with a vast amount of information in every specialty of anesthesia. The IARS meeting’s electronic dashboards monitors and the new IARS 2013 mobile application were a colossal bonus for the electronic savvy IARS attendees. The IARS 2013 application for the iPad, iPhone, and Android personal devices allowed you to build your own schedule, connect with fellow colleagues to share notes and comments regarding education sessions and special events, and view high-quality videos of the most popular sessions and abstracts. The entire meeting was simply and conveniently at your disposal. All the speaker presentations, the 350-moderated abstract presentations, the moderated panel discussions, the tabletop exhibits, the concurrent education sessions, and this year’s new education symposia were all highlights of this year’s meeting. The 2nd annual “Party with a Purpose” was emceed by Drs. Steve Shafer and Michael Roizen. With over 150 in attendance, the event raised approximately $65,000 in support of innovative anesthesia research.
The meeting opened with the Seldon Memorial Lecture “Simulation-Another (Unsung) Gift to Medicine from Anesthesiology,” presented by Dr. David M. Gaba, Associate Dean for Immersive and Simulation-Based Learning and Professor of Anesthesia at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Gaba is the founding director of Patient Simulation Center of Innovation, inventor of the modern full-body simulator, and integrated the safety theory of aviation to health care. He opened his lecture with the review of some of the contributions or gifts by others in the field of anesthesiology to the general practice and advancement of medicine: Dr. Virginia Apgar who developed the Apgar Score; Dr. John Severinghaus, inventor of the CO2 electrode and the first blood gas analysis system; and Dr. Peter Safer and others who introduced mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in 1956. Along with other past contributors to medicine, the simulation training and education pioneered by Dr. Gaba and others improved the performance of anesthesia clinicians and residents in a vast number of clinical scenarios. Dr. Gaba ended this mind-provoking presentation by noting that clinical simulation training, education, and research represent another important gift of the specialty of anesthesiology to every scope of practice in medicine.
The meeting program included daily symposia providing focused discussions and in-depth presentations on a variety of relevant topics. For example, the 5-member panel on “Pain Mechanisms and Management” considered an evidence-based approach to various aspects of acute and chronic pain management. Professor Yaksh opened the session with a vigorous presentation on the neurobiology of pain from his decades of basic science research on the topic field of pain. Professor Rathmell reported on a recent expert panel consensus on the use of epidural steroid injections for the treatment of low back pain. Professor Chan, a world authority on the use of ultrasound guidance for regional anesthesia, gave us the latest evidence on outcome data for efficacy and complications when using ultrasound guidance to provide perioperative analgesia. Finally, Professor Suresh concluded this excellent session with a summary of the unique challenges and techniques used to provide pain management for the pediatric patient.
The IARS 2013 meeting supplemented the anesthesiology resident attendees’ educational experience with both clinical and research implications. The panel discussion “The Future is in Your Pocket” moderated by Dr. Suresh highlighted the dilemmas the current anesthesiology resident must rationalize in deciding the path of his or her future. Unlike any other anesthesia meeting, the IARS recognized the necessity to explore the future endeavors of our residents. The pros and cons of both academic and private careers, the impact of fellowship training in the future, and the understanding of employment contracts were presented, discussed, and debated. The residents were challenged to consider their future options, and the panel discussion was well received and appreciated.
A total 350 global well-moderated abstracts were presented. Seventeen abstract categories were represented, with “Best in Category” awards made in all 17. The “Best of Meeting” abstract was awarded to Kevin B. Taylor, MS, for his patient-oriented research, “A Study of the Functional Connectivity of the Insula and the Anterior Cingulate Gyrus During Pain Processing;” the basic science research award was presented to Dr. Eric Gross from Stanford University for “Neural Gamma Protein Kinase C Mediates Remote Cardio Protection in Rats.” The “Kosaka Abstract Award” was presented to Dr. Brice Gaudillier from Stanford University for his abstract “System-Wide Analysis of the Endogenous Immune Response to Surgical Trauma Using Mass Cytometry;” the Kosaka patient-oriented research abstract was awarded to Dr. Tasuku from Ehime University, Japan, for “Therapeutic Effects of Bromvalerylurea on Sepsis-Induced Respiratory Failure of Rats by Immunosuppression of Alveolar Macrophages.” These award-winning abstracts and all others can be viewed on the IARS 2013 Annual Meeting Web site.
During the course of the meeting, the IARS provided simultaneous events across the spectrum from ambulatory anesthesia to critical care anesthesia. The review courses provided an in-depth study for those looking to pass boards or refresh their database. The problem-based learning discussions encouraged audience feedback and discussion for those interested in a variety of clinical cases and research. The hands-on workshops were a sensation in providing a comprehensive individualized teaching. Finally, the tabletop exhibitions demonstrated the latest innovative evidence-based technology to improve patient outcomes. The electronic monitors distributed throughout the meeting vestibules provided continuous updates and accessibility to concurrent lectures, review courses, and panel discussions.
The final day of the IARS 2013 Annual Meeting ended with the vigor and vivacity that was implemented from the very start. The Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologist presented an excellent panel featuring interactive audience participation. The debate amongst the panel experts on the current evidence-based management of common clinical problems challenged and involved the audience with much discussion. Clinicians, learners, and researchers were better able to discuss and decide the pros and cons of the following: should surgery be postponed in a patient with severe hypothyroidism, what evidence supports the use of etomidate as the induction agent for such a patient, how best to manage acute atrial fibrillation in the perioperative setting, at what hemoglobin threshold should you begin RBC transfusion, and which is best, central venous pressure or pulse pressure variation, for guiding volume therapy?
I would like to express my appreciation to all of the participants worldwide for their contribution to such an outstanding, invigorating, educational, and research-driven conference. Special thanks to Drs. Keith Jones and Santhanam Suresh as program cochairs, the board of trustees, and to all those who volunteered time and services to achieve a successful IARS 2013 Annual Meeting.
Please join us for the IARS 2014 Annual Meeting from May 17 to May20, 2014, in beautiful Montreal, Canada. The meeting will be held at the distinguished Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel located in the heart of the romantic, cosmopolitan Montreal! The lectures, problem-based learning discussions, moderated review courses, and abstracts will be beneficial to everyone across all subspecialties and levels of training/expertise. The IARS continues to distinguish itself as unsurpassed amongst anesthesia annual meetings. World-leading anesthesia educators, clinicians, and investigational researchers unite to integrate, discuss, and debate the latest advances in research and the best practices in anesthesia clinical care. To review highlights of the IARS 2013 Annual Meeting, please visit their Web site at: www.iars.org. We look forward to seeing you at the IARS 2014 Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada.