The Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists

Education Committee Update

I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see so many of you in Seattle for the IARS/SOCCA Annual Meeting last month. This year’s meeting was a bit different from previous years, with the addition of a three-day critical care tract of panels, a SOCCA co-sponsored panel in the non-critical care tract, and an ultrasound workshop presented by our SOCCA members.

The critical care track commenced with a fantastic panel moderated by Dr. Miko Enomoto in which Dr. Matthias Merkel, Dr. Liza Weavind, Dr. Audrey Spelde, and Dr. Christina Boncyk discussed ways to ensure patients receive critical care services even outside the bounds of the typical Intensive Care Unit. They discussed how mobile ECMO, critical care outreach teams, regionalization of services, and Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) clinics can allow us to better serve our patients.

Dr. Miriam Treggiari moderated a panel in which Dr. Vijay Krishnamoorthy, Dr. Emily Vail, Dr. Karthik Raghunathan, and Dr. Marcos Lopez evaluated strategies for improving RCT design for critical care patient populations. Large database research has emerged as an alternative approach to assessing large populations of patients. In a panel moderated by Dr. Allison Dalton, Dr. Hannah Wunsch discussed the nuances of using large databases for research. In contrast, Dr. Piyush Mathur discussed how to use AI and machine learning to optimize its utility. Dr. Rahul Kashyap presented his experience with the SCCM VIRUS (COVID-19) registry and how this database allowed for the rapid organization and dissemination of knowledge regarding COVID-19. 

We had multiple panels discussing the use of ECMO, CPR, and eCPR. Dr. Marc Dickstein, along with Dr. Vivek Moitra, Dr. Lauren Sutherland, and Dr. Robert Sladen, described the hemodynamic changes associated with mechanical circulatory support, including changes in pulsatility, oxygen delivery, and myocardial work. In a panel moderated by Dr. Matthew Wiepking, Dr. Leon Eydelman, Dr. Christopher Ortiz, and Dr. Maxwell Hockstein presented current evidence, workflows, and outcomes related to eCPR. In a separate panel moderated by Dr. Matthias Riess, Dr. Matthew Barajas, Dr. Johanna Moore, and Dr. Jason Bartos explained the use of different tools to enhance CPR, including mechanical devices, head and chest elevation, and eCPR.

Intubation of a physiologically difficult airway may result in hemodynamic or respiratory compromise. Dr. Carlee Clark moderated a panel in which Dr. Kunal Karamchandani, Dr. Craig Jabaley, Dr. Mary Jarzebowski, and Dr. Alok Gupta reviewed the risks for intubation in this subset of patients and discussed mitigation factors for optimization in the peri-intubation period. 

Communication failures may result in increased adverse events and medical errors. Dr. Kunal Karamchandani moderated a panel on improving patient care handoffs. Dr. Aalok Agarwala and Dr. Christopher Potestio presented the importance of structured handoffs while Dr. Andrea Vannucci discussed how the EMR can be used to improve handoffs in the perioperative period.

Over the last several years, the number of anesthesia residents pursuing fellowships has decreased. Drs. Craig Jabaley, Brigid Flynn, Erin Hennessey, and Vivek Moitra highlighted the recruitment data and provided insights on developing workforce pipelines, changing organizational practice, and enhancing professional and career development.

In addition to the panels on the critical care track, this year’s annual meeting highlighted a SOCCA-sponsored panel that featured the interplay of vasopressor/inotropes, organ protection, and prediction of patient deterioration across the care continuum. This panel brought together Dr. Ashish Khanna, Dr. Michael Mathis, Dr. Matthieu Legrand, and Dr. Allison Janda to discuss using vasopressors in cardiac operating rooms, general operating rooms, and intensive care units. 

At the conclusion of the annual meeting, we presented a half-day SOCCA Spotlight, which allowed for additional education sessions, including a panel discussion on global critical care presented by Drs. Vanessa Moll, Didi Odinkemelu, and Nicole Arkin. The educational program finished with a review of recent, relevant articles from the subspecialty literature: a panel moderated by Dr. Erin Hennessey with subspecialty reviews by Drs. Ameeka Pannu (NeuroICU), Dragos Galusca (Liver Transplant), Nazish Hashmi (CV ICU), and Matthew Wiepking (Obstetrical Critical Care).

In addition to the educational panels, members of SOCCA developed a Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) workshop specifically designed for use in the peri-resuscitative period or during medical emergencies. This workshop was ticketed and very well attended. Furthermore, multiple critical care oral abstracts and visual abstracts were presented throughout the conference. Thank you to all our presenters and panelists for making the Annual Meeting a tremendous success!

SOCCA presented two awards to its members at the annual meeting. Theresa Tenge was presented with the 2024 Young Investigator Award for her work entitled “Early detection of palliative care need in intensive care unit patients – development and cross-validation of the PC-ICU score.” The Burchardi Award, co-sponsored by SOCCA and SCCM, is awarded to a leader in anesthesia critical care defined by “competence, humility, humanity, and a sense of humor.” Dr. Rebekah Aslakson was the 2024 awardee of the Burchardi Award. Congratulations to Dr. Tenge and Dr. Aslakson!

The education committee is excited about returning and new educational offerings for 2024 and beyond. The SOCCA webinar series will continue with virtual lectures in the fall and winter. The Board Review course will return in September 2024 as a comprehensive review for our fellows and junior faculty in preparation for the critical care board exam in October. We also anticipate new opportunities, including a journal club for fellows, developing an anesthesia critical care-specific question bank, and cultivating critical care resources for trainees through Open Anesthesia, Anesthesia Toolbox, and the SOCCA ICU resident guide. Thank you to our education committee members for all of your contributions.

Finally, I am happy to announce the new chair of the SOCCA education committee. Dr. Kunal Karamchandani is an associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He has been the vice-chair of the education committee for the last two years and has been instrumental in developing the SOCCA annual meeting since 2020. The education committee will flourish under his leadership!