The Scientific Subcommittee (SSC) 14 on Monitoring, Ultrasound, and Equipment of the European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA) has been chaired since January 2016 by Thomas Scheeren. The main task of SSC 14 is to propose and advise the Scientific Committee of the ESA on the topics, sessions, talks, and potential speakers related to the field of monitoring, ultrasound, and equipment to be presented at the upcoming Euroanaesthesia Annual Meetings. The wide range of “all-encompassing” topics covered is reflected in the expertise of each of its current members: hemodynamic monitoring (Thomas Scheeren), temperature regulation (Oliver Kimberger), analgesia monitoring (Emmanuel Boselli), and anaesthesia machines and depth of anaesthesia monitoring (Jan Hendrickx). In addition, two subspecialty committees, represented by Gabriel M. Gurman (ESCTAIC) and Nicholas Moore (SUA), provide important input and proposals.
The committee is continuously seeking support and input: any ESA member can individually submit ideas for topics or sessions, which actually receive priority during the review process during the bi-annual Scientific Committee meeting.
One of the aspects accentuated by the immediate past chair, Jan Hendrickx, has been anaesthesia machines and inhaled agent and carrier gas delivery more generally. Technology is evolving at a very rapid pace, and proper and timely teaching are essential to allow the clinician to keep up with increasingly complex machines. For instance, target controlled low flow inhalation agent delivery minimizes its consumption and thus waste, cost, and pollution. Furthermore, automation helps to adjust fresh gas flows while minimizing the risk of hypoxic mixture formation due to rebreathing (see associated Editorial in the European Journal of Anaesthesiology, June 2015).
There is a recent trend in monitoring cardiovascular haemodynamics from intermittent towards continuous and from more or less invasive methods towards completely non-invasive technologies. These include methods that analyse the arterial pressure curve (measured invasively or non-invasively) or plethysmographic signal by pulse contour analysis (calibrated or uncalibrated devices). Other technologies include electrical bioimpedance and bioreactance as well as the pulse wave transit time method. The SSC 14 intends to use the expertise of its members in this field to help evaluate these new methods in view of their validity, accuracy, and trending ability, but also regarding their potential value for our patients (outcome). Another important topic is ultrasound techniques, covering the broad range from echocardiography to lung ultrasound and assistance in vascular access and peripheral nerve blocks. The ESA should be the leading society supporting this exciting development in clinical medicine, and the SSC 14 on Monitoring, Ultrasound, and Equipment wants to stimulate this advance. Finally, the SSC 14 appreciates recent developments in “big data” handling and machine learning-based decision support systems.
Thomas Scheeren and Jan Hendrickx are also Associate Editors of the Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing (JCMC) and as such are responsible for papers on monitoring equipment and ultrasound (TS) and depth of anaesthesia monitoring (JH) submitted to this journal. In addition to the European Journal of Anaesthesiology, which is the proprietary journal of the ESA, the JCMC offers ESA members the opportunity to publish topics more related to technical issues or equipment.