Immediate Past Scientific Secretary
EACTA 2004 meeting in London was an inevitable scientific success. In addition to excellent keynote lectures and well-attended symposia, the eight oral free paper sessions and three long poster presentation sessions gave to the meeting the latest edge of ongoing research in cardio-thoracic anaesthesia and intensive care and some related topics. Free papers have always been the cores of EACTA meetings, giving the presenters a unique opportunity to discuss their research with a large international community having the same interest. EACTA aims to stimulate this discussion even further by awarding each year prizes for the best presentations in oral and poster presentation sessions each. During past few years, three prizes (250, 150 and 100 €) have been awarded in each category. How to choose three best among dozens of excellent ones? First, the Abstract Committee has scored all abstracts in terms of originality, scientific significance, study design, used methods, and discussion and conclusion. Second, the chairpersons of each session have chosen three (in long poster sessions up to six) best overall presentations, without knowing the scores of the Abstract Committee. In this way also the performance of the speaker on the podium is a crucial elemental for success. It is surprising how often the chairmen have picked presentations that also have top scores!
Oral Presentation Prizes
The first prize of the oral presentations went to an experienced colleague, Stephan Kazmaier from Goettingen, Germany. The rules do not especially exclude senior authors from getting prizes, and if you have a top score and your presentation is regarded the best in the session, you are the winner! The title of the paper was Description of the instantaneous pressure-flow relationship and critical occlusion pressure in arerial coronary bypass grafts (S Kazmaier, G Hanekop, K Götze, D Kettler, H Sonntag, A Weyland). They showed with diastolic pressure-flow measurements that there is a vascular waterfall effect in the coronary circulation after internal mammary artery bypass grafting. They also suggested that diastolic pressure-flow relationship is a more rational way of evaluating coronary vascular resistance than the conventionally used calculations.
The winner of the second oral presentation prize did go to a researcher who is certainly young enough, since he is still a medical student: Troels Fogh Pedersen, Aarhus, Denmark. In their study Angle dependency in the ultrasound modality displacement evaluated in a dynamic test phantom (TF Pedersen, B Jensen, K Norrild, E Sloth) they used a cyclically compressed polyurethane test phantom to evaluate the degree of error in tissue Doppler measurement, when the measurement angle was varied between 0, 45 and 90 degrees. They found that only 90 degree angle caused significant dampening of the Doppler amplitude.
The third prize was given to Paul A White, Cambridge, United Kingdom. His study Pulmonary thrombo-endarterectomy improves diastolic relaxation in the immediate postoperative patient (PA White, S Kadiman, A Vuylsteke, RD Latimer, JJ Dunning, SR Large) used conductance catheter to measure the changes in left ventricular diastolic function in association with pulmonary thrombo-endarterectomy. The tau of both right and left ventricles was decreased in parallel with a marked decrease in pulmonary arterial pressure, while the systolic indices of contractility remained unchanged immediately after the operation.
We give only three prizes, but this time it was very difficult to decide between Dr. White’s and Dr. Keso Skhirtaladze’s presentions. Therefore, it is fair that also the paper Plasma and interstitial concentrations of vancomycin in diabetic vs. non-diabetic patients (K Skhirtaladze, D Hutschala, BX Mayer-Helm, E: Tschernko; Vienna)Austria) was mentioned in the prize-giving ceremony. In this study, the authors showed that the skeletal muscle tissue concentrations of vancomycin, measured with microdialysis, remained markedly lower in diabetic than in non-diabetic patients and too low to be effective against some strains of Staphylococcus.
Poster Presentation Prizes
The winner of the first poster presentation prize, Jan van der Linden (Stockholm, Sweden), is also a senior researcher. His study Carbon dioxide inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus at body temperature (J van der Linden, M Persson, P Svenarud, JI Flock) aimed to show in an in vitro study the bacteriostatic effect of carbon dioxide. This makes sense, since carbon dioxide is used to flush the wound in many cardiac operations, as well as in thoracoscopic and laparoscopic surgery. Carbon dioxide (100 %) inhibited significantly the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and the effect increased exponentially with time.
G Finamore (Brescia, Italy) won the second poster presentation prize with the study Problem-solving in cardiac anaesthesia: empiricism vs. algorithm in the management of microvascular bleeding (G Finamore, M Ferrante, E Conti, V Pede, R Martinez, R LaMonica, G Rodella, B Amari). They compared blood component use in two groups of patients: the other one was treated strictly according to an algorithm and the other one with clinical judgement without an algorithm. The algorithm group received significantly less fresh frozen plasma while blood loss, red cell transfusion and platelet transfusion (almost none given) were not different.
Finally, Inga Karu (Tallinn/Tartu, Estonia) won the third poster presentation prize. In her study Contractile function of the heart after cardioplegia is not determined by the extent of myocardial necrosis and lactate release (I Karu, R Loit, A Paapstel, J Starkopf (Tallin/Tartu, Estonia), she and the co-workers showed marked arterial – coronary sinus differences (excretion) of troponin T and cretine kinase isoenzyme MB while there was no deterioration of the contractile indexes as measured by pulmonary arterial catheter. Thus, contractile function measured by pulmonary catheter does provide little information on the extent of myocardial damage caused by cardioplegic arrest during CABG surgery.
The awards were announced and the diplomas were given in the Prize Giving Ceremony on Friday 11 June, in association with the closing ceremony. All prize-winning groups were present in the ceremony and could receive also applauds in addition to the diploma! All these presentations and also the other 91 are published in the Supplement of European Journal of Anaesthesiology (2004; 21: Suppl 33) and they are also displayed on EACTA website.