President’s NL 1 – 2009

The EACTA Commitment to clinical research

photo-marco_ranucci_leftIt is in the nature of EACTA to support the clinical research in the field of cardiothoracic anaesthesia and intensive care. EACTA is a scientific association and its mission is to develop the knowledge in this area, for the benefit of the patients who need a cardiothoracic operation. Within this mission, a specific respect is ascribed to the young researchers. The EACTA Annual Meeting has always represented a forum where the young researchers are invited to present the results of their studies. Not by chance, the scientific program of the EACTA Annual Meeting has always included free oral and poster presentations accounting for more than 70% of the time. Our next Annual Meeting in Athens will maintain this tradition.

Since 2001, EACTA has been supporting specific research programs by attributing dedicated Research Grants to research programs proposed by EACTA members. This is a very simple process, which requires an official grant application through our website, that will be followed by a rating of the research projects and the final attribution of 2-3 annual research grants. The whole process is co-ordinated by the Scientific Secretary of EACTA and the projects rating is under the responsibility of the EACTA Scientific Committee. This program has been very succesfull during the last 8 years, with an important number of outstanding research programs supported by EACTA and published in many scientific journals.

EACTA is also directly running scientific surveys within Europe. In 2006 a European Survey on Haemostasis and Coagulation Management in cardiac surgery was organized by EACTA. More than 70 European Institutions participated, providing a big deal of information. The results of this Survey were presented at the Annual Meeting in Venice, and subsequently published in a dedicated supplement of the European Journal of Anaesthesia. In 2009 a similar initiative has been started: we are now running an European Survey on Transfusion Policies in cardiac surgery. Each European Institution represented within EACTA will receive a questionnaire focused on allogeneic blood transfusions management in the local practice. Again, a dedicated symposium will spread this information to the audience of our next Annual Meeting.

We are living in difficult times, and from many points of view these times are not the best ones for clinical research. The financial crisis and the worldwide escalating costs of health services are leading to decreased resources designated to the medical research. In this scenario what is actually happening is that the remaining resources are usually allocated to large Institutions like University Hospitals and Research Institutions. Of course these are the natural places for clinical research, but the consequence of this situation is that Community Hospitals and other Institutions may find now very difficult to support their own research projects. Moreover, even the resources usually allocated by pharmaceutical companies or other industries are presently facing a consistent decrease.

In this scenario, EACTA is committed to a continuous support of the clinical research in the field of cardiothoracic anaesthesia and intensive care, and as far as our financial situation will remain wealthy, as it is now, we will go on allocating our resources to support research projects in this area.

Marco Ranucci
EACTA President