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The ESAIC is dedicated to supporting professionals in anaesthesiology and intensive care by serving as the hub for development and dissemination of valuable educational, scientific, research, and networking resources.



The ESAIC hosts the Euroanaesthesia and Focus Meeting congresses that serve as platforms for cutting-edge science and innovation in the field. These events bring together experts, foster networking, and facilitate knowledge exchange in anaesthesiology, intensive care, pain management, and perioperative medicine. Euroanaesthesia is one of the world’s largest and most influential scientific congresses for anaesthesia professionals. Held annually throughout Europe, our congress is a contemporary event geared towards education, knowledge exchange and innovation in anaesthesia, intensive care, pain and perioperative medicine, as well as a platform for immense international visibility for scientific research.


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The ESAIC's mission is to foster and provide exceptional training and educational opportunities. The ESAIC ensures the provision of robust and standardised examination and certification systems to support the professional development of anaesthesiologists and to ensure outstanding future doctors in the field of anaesthesiology and intensive care.



The ESAIC aims to advance patient outcomes and contribute to the progress of anaesthesiology and intensive care evidence-based practice through research. The ESAIC Clinical Trial Network (CTN), the Academic Contract Research Organisation (A-CRO), the Research Groups and Grants all contribute to the knowledge and clinical advances in the peri-operative setting.

Learn more about the ESAIC Clinical Trial Network (CTN) and the associated studies.


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The ESAIC is actively involved as a consortium member in numerous EU funded projects. Together with healthcare leaders and practitioners, the ESAIC's involvement as an EU project partner is another way that it is improving patient outcomes and ensuring the best care for every patient.


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The ESAIC aims to promote the professional role of anaesthesiologists and intensive care physicians and enhance perioperative patient outcomes by focusing on quality of care and patient safety strategies. The Society is committed to implementing the Helsinki Declaration and leading patient safety projects.



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The ESAIC works in collaboration with industry, national societies, and specialist societies to promote advancements in anaesthesia and intensive care. The Industry Partnership offers visibility and engagement opportunities for industry participants with ESAIC members, facilitating understanding of specific needs in anaesthesiology and in intensive care. This partnership provides resources for education and avenues for collaborative projects enhancing science, education, and patient safety. The Specialist Societies contribute to high-quality educational opportunities for European anaesthesiologists and intensivists, fostering discussion and sharing, while the National Societies, through NASC, maintain standards, promote events and courses, and facilitate connections. All partnerships collectively drive dialogue, learning, and growth in the anaesthesiology and intensive care sector.



Guidelines play a crucial role in delivering evidence-based recommendations to healthcare professionals. Within the fields of anaesthesia and intensive care, guidelines are instrumental in standardizing clinical practices and enhancing patient outcomes. For many years, the ESAIC has served as a pivotal platform for facilitating continuous advancements, improving care standards and harmonising clinical management practices across Europe.



With over 40 years of publication history, the EJA (European Journal of Anaesthesiology) has established itself as a highly respected and influential journal in its field. It covers a wide range of topics related to anaesthesiology and intensive care medicine, including perioperative medicine, pain management, critical care, resuscitation, and patient safety.



Becoming a member of ESAIC implies becoming a part of a vibrant community of nearly 8,000 professionals who exchange best practices and stay updated on the latest developments in anaesthesiology, intensive care and perioperative medicine. ESAIC membership equips you with the tools and resources necessary to enhance your daily professional routine, nurture your career growth, and play an active role in advancing anaesthesiology, intensive care and perioperative medicine.

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Newsletter 2020

Third expert panel perspective on important and urgent issues in perioperative patient safety

Johannes Wacker, Mirka Cikkelova, Sven Staender


Let’s compare the idea of the Patient Safety Expert Meeting (PSEM) during Euroanaesthesia to a “Patient Safety Barometer”: The shared knowledge and experiences of these experts are used like barometer readings to consider the question: What are the most important and the most urgent current issues in perioperative patient safety? During Euroanaesthesia 2018 in Copenhagen, the ESAIC PSQC organized the third edition of this interdisciplinary meeting of clinicians, scientists and other stakeholders from all areas of the perioperative setting. Following the two successful previous editions,1,2  the meeting took advantage again of the presence of patient safety experts from most of these fields during Euroanaesthesia to convene an invitational moderated group discussion similar to a World Café3meeting. We present a summary of the contributions, the major themes of the debate, and some references for further reading.

A first line of discussion addressed the problem of workforce shortages in many hospitals – “the system is under pressure”, as one participant described the situation. Sometimes, not enough experienced staff anaesthesiologists are available for adequate supervision of junior doctors. Clinicians do not often have enough time to check and reappraise their clinical work. Besides physicians, other professional groups are affected by shortages as well, in particular nurses. In addition, administrative duties are shifted to clinicians that were formerly completed by secretaries. One participant remarked that sometimes employees are sent to attend courses when at the same time there are not enough staff in the hospital to properly accomplish the clinical work. Often, it seems unclear who takes the responsibility for carrying on with operational tasks when staffing levels are not adequate.

The conversation also explored the general importance of systems, and of systems learning. In order to improve the system, it is not enough to concentrate on the problems – sometimes we should stop and ask: are we doing the right thing to make change happen? Importantly, learning time is needed to adapt to new technologies and to new knowledge. Furthermore, providing feedback is crucial, and teams can decide to provide it deliberately. More generally, persistence in implementing a safety culture is fundamental to address local problems, for example prevailing blaming culture or lacking interest in receiving feedback. In the UK, as one participant added, 360-degree feedback is obligatory once a year. In addition to culture change, the role of training for keeping systems safe was emphasised, for example dedicated leadership training for young professionals, team training, and the importance of literally practicing the components of team work. As one participant remarked, anaesthesia should learn from music rather than from aviation, and rehearse continuously like an orchestra to be better prepared.

The discussion also focused on how improvement can be measured using quality indicators (QI). Ideally, QI should describe the whole pathway of the patient. ESAIC would be well positioned to call for the use of QI as a standard, and perhaps propose a core set of QI. However, only few NAS provide such indicators, and data collection could mean additional work for overloaded clinicians. Most indicators, then, are describing structures and processes instead of the more important outcomes. Indeed, many QI may not reliably describe clinician’s real life problems and the shortcuts they find – aspects that may be better captured using field studies.

An additional round of the debate explored patient safety issues perceived as particularly urgent. For example, using prefilled syringes, labeling, and standardisation (e.g., phenylephrine concentrations) may improve medication safety. A specific focus was on technology: ubiquituous use of capnography would be a safety advantage: The new WHO-WFSA guidelines4currently “highly recommend” single carbon dioxide measurements, but will “highly recommend” continuous waveform capnography as soon as robust, suitably priced devices are available – an urgent call upon manufacturers! Moreover, better use of existing technology could help to include patients more in their safety management – for example by using smartphones for patient education and data collection, or adopting telemedical patient assessment. However, technology as a tool should complement rather than replace the clinical view and the patient-clinician relationship. Other perceived priorities included distractions and noise resulting in cognitive overload and alarm fatigue, the need of improving the use of postoperative neuromuscular monitoring, and the need of more research about elderly patients. Furthermore, signs of increasing international recognition of patient safety are the inclusion of surgical and anaesthesia indicators into the World Bank Development Indicators,5 and the Tokyo Declaration on Patient Safety (April 2018, https://www.mhlw.go.jp/psgms2018/).6 Finally, there seems to be a secret epidemic of burnout, depression, and even suicide among anaesthesiologists. Despite limited data about its extent, this issue is recognised by international societies7,8. Summing up, the meeting highlighted that “things may still happen…”, that we should try to learn from what is happening outside, and that in order to take optimal care of our patients we should also remember to take care of ourselves.

The individuals listed below have approved the final summary and agreed to be listed as participants. Participants: Daniel Arnal, Paul Barach, Mark Coburn, Filippo Bressan, Peter Dieckmann, Adrian Gelb, Gabriel M. Gurman, Jan Hendrickx, Marc Leone, Paraskevi Matsota, Jannicke Mellin-Olsen, Doris Østergaard, Flavia Petrini, Beverly K. Philip, James H. Philip, Martin Ponschab, Benedikt Preckel, Richard Urman, Mark A. Warner, David Whitaker, Josef I. Wichelewski. Moderation: Johannes Wacker, Sven E.A. Staender. Organisation: Mirka Cikkelova.

Moderation: Johannes Wacker, Sven E.A. Staender. Organisation: Mirka Cikkelova.


  1. Wacker J. Important and urgent issues in perioperative patient safety – views of an expert panel. ESAIC Newsletter. 2017(68).http://newsletter.esaic.org/important-and-urgent-issues-in-perioperative-patient-safety-views-of-an-expert-panel/.
  2. Wacker J, Staender S. Important and urgent issues in perioperative patient safety – a second expert panel perspective. ESAIC Newsletter. 2018(75). http://newsletter.esaic.org/important-urgent-issues-perioperative-patient-safety-second-expert-panel-perspective/.
  3. MacFarlane A, Galvin R, O’Sullivan M, et al.. Fam Pract. 2016;pii: cmw104. [Epub ahead of print].
  4. Gelb AW, Morriss WW, Johnson W, Merry AF, Can J Anaesth. 2018.
  5. Raykar NP, Ng-Kamstra JS, Bickler S, et al. BMJ Glob Health. 2017;2(2):e000265.
  6. Flott K, Durkin M, Darzi A. T BMJ. 2018;362:k3424.
  7. Mion G, Libert N, Journois D.. Annales francaises d’anesthesie et de reanimation. 2013;32(3):175-188.
  8. Hyman SA, Shotwell MS, Michaels DR, et al.. Anesth Analg. 2017;125(6):2009-2018.