Letter from the President

Letter from the President

  • Issue 61

Daniela Filipescu | ESA President

Dear Colleagues,
Dear Friends,

It was a great pleasure and honour to welcome many of you to the 2015 edition of Euroanaesthesia last month in Berlin. Practitioners and researchers in anaesthesia, perioperative medicine, intensive care medicine, pain therapy, and emergency medicine and the healthcare industry from around the world met into one of the largest and most prestigious anaesthesiology congresses.

6637 delegates from 107 countries filed through the doors of the Berlin CityCube to attend Euroanaesthesia 2015, the highest number of attendees to date.  The largest number came from the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and the Netherlands https://www.esahq.org/congresses/euroanaesthesia2015/registration-figures. The highest number of non-European delegates came from Australia followed by China and the United States. Six non-European countries feature in the top 20 countries for participants’ number, proof of recognition of Euroanaesthesia’s global authority in anaesthesiology.

Once again, the ESA Committees & Subcommittees worked closely with the Board and the Secretariat to prepare what was another exceptional and stimulating programme. Thank you all for making Euroanaesthesia 2015 a resounding success!

National Organising Committee

I would also like to thank Professor Thea Koch, President of the DGAI and Chair of the National Organising Committee, and her colleagues for their support in the organisation of Euroanaesthesia in Germany.

Scientific Programme

The scientific programme is at the heart of every congress which brings people together to meet, exchange ideas and learn. I extend my warm and respectful congratulations to all the members of the Scientific Committee for elaborating an outstanding programme full of cutting edge innovations in basic and clinical science, innovation in clinical application, in education and in quality and safety improvement!

Professor Marc Samama has written a comprehensive summary of the scientific programme. All ESA members and all Euroanaesthesia delegates can download the speakers’ presentations and view replay sessions on the ESA website.

10th Anniversary Celebrations

This year is particularly special as we are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of our Society, following the amalgamation of three former organisations, the European Society of Anaesthesiologists (the ‘former’ ESA), the European Academy of Anaesthesiology (EAA) and the Confederation of European National Societies of Anaesthesiologists (CENSA) into one European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA).

The leadership of the three amalgamated organisations played a key role in forming the ESA 10 years ago. In 2004, Hans Joachim Priebe, Thomas Pasch and Philippe Scherpereel, the presidents of the former ESA, EAA and CENSA, respectively, wrote that they knew that failure to merge the three organisations was not an option. This major step forward for European anaesthesiology would not have been possible without their dedication and hard work to overcome the inherent obstacles on the road of success. We are grateful to all those who contributed to this cornerstone development of the European anaesthesiology.

The main celebrations were held during Euroanaesthesia in Berlin. The festivities began with a special 10th Anniversary Dinner, kindly hosted by Karl Storz at their fabulous training centre. We were privileged to have amongst our guests many colleagues who were the founding fathers of the ESA and who had the foresight to bring together the three societies to create the strong and influential society that the ESA is today. The ESA Council, Board, Committees’ chairs and Honorary Members were joined by many colleagues and friends who have been pivotal in the success and building of the society over the last decade as well as many Presidents of the ESA National Societies and of international societies and representatives of our 18 Industry Partners.

The celebrations continued on Saturday with a splendid Opening Ceremony beginning with a recorded welcome from Sir Peter Simpson, the first elected President of the amalgamated ESA. The 10th Anniversary Timeline highlighting the major achievements and milestones in each year was released during the ceremony. Please take the time to listen to the recording and browse around the Timeline, which is quite an insight into how the ESA has evolved. It is greatly rewarding to see how the activities and programmes have developed in such a short time and how membership has exploded to over 28.000 members worldwide.

Dr David Wilkinson, the president of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA). honoured the event by offering an anniversary plaque to the ESA during the ceremony.

Honorary Membership

The Opening Ceremony was also the occasion to bestow Honorary Membership upon Professor Jochen Schulte am Esch (DE) and Professor Olav Munter Sellevold (NO). Professor Schulte am Esch was Senator of the EAA and continued to be involved in the new ESA as an EDAIC examiner. Professor Sellevold was Honorary Treasurer and President Elect of CENSA and chaired the first ESA National Anaesthesiologists Societies Committee (NASC).

The ceremony closed with a fascinating talk by Professor Emery Brown entitled “The Brain, Neuroscience and the Future of Anesthesiology” that highlighted the enormous potential for improving the practice of anaesthesiology that lies in deepening anaesthesiologist’s training in neuroscience.


Two leadership elections were held in Berlin. The ESA Council re-elected Dr. Jannicke Mellin-Olsen (NO) to the post of Secretary and Dr. Josef Wichelewski (IL) to the post of Treasurer and Professor Stefan De Hert (BE) to the position of Board Non-Officer. Their 2 year term of office begins in January 2016. New members of the Nominations Committee were elected by ESA members during the General Assembly. Congratulations to Marcelo Gama de Abreu (DE), Stravoula Lacoumenta-Leventaki (GR), Michael Nathanson (UK), and Andrey Varvinskiy (UK)!

General Assembly

This year the General Assembly was attended by more than 300 ESA members. They were invited to vote regarding the two different sets of proposed amendments to the ESA bylaws. After much discussion neither proposal received the necessary 75% majority. Some change remains necessary and there is now an opportunity to undertake a careful review of the by-laws, allowing sufficient time for wide consultation and preparation of a proposal. The minutes of the 2015 General Assembly can be read further in this newsletter.

Awards Ceremony

The many prizes and grants awarded during the Awards Ceremony are more proof of the society’s objective to continue training, educating, researching and informing. Over the past 10 years ESA has supported research and education through 78 grants and prizes and has distributed almost €2.500.000 to anaesthesiologists and research departments from the whole of Europe.

The Clinical Trial Network launched in 2010 has coordinated 12 multicentre studies and created a network of almost 1400 centres in Europe. The results of the finalised studies have been published in Lancet, Anaesthesiology, and European Journal of Anaesthesiology. The three new studies, PROBESE, EPIMAP and NECTARINE, selected during the 2014 competition to run in 2015 and 2016 were extensively advertised during the congress. You can still join these new studies.


The European Diploma in Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (EDAIC) organised by the ESA is recognised as a mark of excellence in education. This year, for the first time Part II examination was organised in connection with Euroanaesthesia.

The accessibility of EDAIC is constantly growing in the number of centres (50 nowadays), languages and applicants (over 3000 in 2014). Over 3800 colleagues have been awarded the European diploma since 2005. 352 anaesthesiologists completed the EDAIC in 2014. Their success was celebrated during the Awards Ceremony which is a traditional joyful event of Euronaesthesia.

Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology

One of the greatest achievements of the European anaesthesiology is global endorsement and adoption of the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology, the document developed by the European Board of Anaesthesiology (EBA) in collaboration with ESA and launched 5 years ago during Euroanaesthesia in Milan. In Berlin, the Japanese Society of Anesthesiology, the Chinese Society of Anesthesiology, the Nigerian Society of Anaesthetists and the Moroccan Society of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care all signed the Helsinki Declaration (HD) during a dedicated session. The Declaration has now been signed or adopted by anaesthesiology societies on all 5 continents. The ESA can humbly lay claim to contributing substantially to improved patient care and safety throughout the world. The newly created Patient Safety and Quality Committee is working to implement the HD and continue and deepen our knowledge and training in this field.

National Societies Village and Trainee Network

Training and education are at the forefront of ESA aims. Ensuring that these programmes meet the requirements of European trainees is crucial. National anaesthesiology postgraduate training and opportunities were addressed in poster format by each society present in the National Societies Village. This new take on this dedicated stand created a lot of interest amongst delegates and will be part of the groundwork carried out by the new ESA Trainee Network (ESA TN). The ESA TN is led by Dr Sobreira Fernandes and Dr Rauseo, the Trainee Council Representatives, Prof Sandner-Keisling, Chair of the ESA Academy and Prof Longrois, Chair of the NASC. Please make sure the survey “Trainees: What can the ESA do for you?” is circulated and completed by all trainees in your hospital.

Photo Contest

We have grown to expect great artistic talent from the photo competition constents. As usual, the winners of the 2015 photo contest delighted us with their artistic skills. The 20 best photographs were displayed at the Congress Centre. The first 12 photographs will illustrate the cover of future issues of the EJA.


What a great success the exhibition was in Berlin! I would like to thank the 110 exhibitors for their participation and our 18 industry partners for their year round support and their contribution to the ESA education and research programmes. The new hands-on booth in the exhibition hall was a success and will be repeated in London so that delegates have an opportunity to try out new equipment for themselves.

I hope that Euroanaesthesia 2015 was memorable experience for you all and I am looking forward to meeting you at the Focus Meeting on Perioperative Medicine: The Cardiac Patient in Nice in November and at Euroanaesthesia in London next year.

Professor Thomas Pasch

Finally I would like to end with a tribute to Professor Thomas Pasch who sadly passed away shortly after Euroanaesthesia. Professor Pasch was interim President of the ESA in 2005. Professor Pasch, alongside Professor Priebe and Professor Scherpereel, smoothly lead the dedicated team through the transition period of the amalgamation. In his passing, the ESA has lost a loyal friend and believer in unifying all European anaesthesiologists to speak with one powerful voice.