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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

To drink or not to drink (too much)- this is not a question!

Gabriel M. Gurman
Chief Editor

Many years ago, during my residency in Toronto, I used to work with a very nice and friendly resident, younger than me who,  by coming from an English-speaking country, helped me a lot in my efforts to become accustomed with the work system  (and language!) in that very prestigious Canadian hospital.

But there was a problem. Much too often, and especially during night on calls, he could not be of any help. He was confused, stuttered, could not perform usual manoeuvers or put notes in the patient’s chart. He quit the job after just a couple of months.

This was the first time I met an alcohol-dependent physician.

But alcohol abuse is not a new subject. Alcohol addiction is common all over the world, and naturally it does affect medical personnel, at least as frequently and as severely as the general population.

This social and eventually professional problem is, in general, underestimated since opiates and similar drugs usually take first place on the list of priorities regarding the perennial campaign against drug abuse.

Besides, alcohol use is worldly considered a normal and a social habit, so alcohol abuse is much more difficult to recognise and treat.

This is the reason why most of the specific literature about drug abuse refers only to opiates and related drugs, with few data on exaggerating alcohol use.

It is not the intention of this editorial to review the myriad of clinical problems created by alcohol abuse, or to enumerate the pathophysiological effects of alcohol overuse.

I would just like to bring to the attention of our readers and younger colleagues some aspects of the alcohol abuse and to mention, in short, the steps which are to be taken by peers in the case one of us presents clear signs of this addiction.

Speaking in general about alcohol abuse, there are some data defining it as the seventh leading risk factor for both death and disability-adjusted life years, three times more in men than in women (1).

Alcohol abuse was identified as a comorbidity accompanying depression and other affective disorders (2). Physicians are specifically affected by this, and suicide rate is 2-3 times higher for them than for the general population (3).

Tolerance is more often encountered in alcohol abusers than in drug abusers. It is defined as “the need to absorb continuously increased amounts of alcohol in order to obtain the same desired effect” (4).

There are no specific data about alcohol abuse among anaesthesiologists, but data about drug abuse show that addiction, in general, is a major issue in the anaesthesia workplace (5).

One can easily understand the relatively high prevalence of alcohol abuse among anaesthesiologists. Production pressure and professional stress are factors which importance cannot be overemphasized (5). In spite of the fact that there are not exact data regarding the rate of alcohol abuse among anaesthesiologists, the feeling is that the numbers are higher than for other medical specialties. It seems that a significant portion of drug abusers among anaesthesiologists are addicted to alcohol.

And why?

The worldwide manpower problem creates a situation in which anaesthesiologists are overworked and always under the influence of what I called the WHEN syndrome (weekends, holidays, evenings and nights), with a serious effect of our professional, social and familial life (6) .

Anaesthesia is, among other things, a service profession, which demands the physician to be able to work in a team, and to act accordingly. Frictions between team members are not unusual in the OR, and this atmosphere could lead to tension and conflicts.

But contrary to almost any medical field, the anaesthesiologist is still obliged, in spite of the latest technological innovations (see the increasing use of ultrasound for performing various procedures), to use a lot of “blind” methods in his/her daily practice, sometimes a very frustrating situation.

Anaesthesia complications are not easily accepted, neither by the patient or his/her family, nor by the medical community. Dehiscence of a small bowel anastomose could be much more understandable than an epidural hematoma after a traumatic spinal puncture.

Last but not least, in some countries, the anaesthesiologist competes in his/her daily activity in the operating room with non-medical professions, a situation which augments the feeling of  frustration produced by all the above.

This permanent stress, felt or not, creates the need for relaxation. For some, a couple of free days would “recharge the batteries” and affords the smooth return to work.

Some others find at home and in their social milieu a source of relief, the joy of spending time with close family members and friends, compensating for the heavy work performed during the day.

But many, maybe too many, would find the panacea for their problems in using drugs and/or alcohol.

It usually starts as a nice and not at all dangerous habit. One or two drinks once at home, after a too busy day, two or three drinks during the weekend dinners, this could be the usual scenario for a first step in the direction of alcohol abuse. The way from the status of social drinker, meaning 1-2 drinks that might soften the harsh events of the day or increase sociability level, to alcohol addiction could be a rather short one.

Addiction could be diagnosed by becoming familiar with your peer’s habits: drinking large amounts of alcohol in any occasion, difficulty in cutting down, a permanent and a strong desire for a drink, and mainly the appearance of alcohol tolerance.

This is how the literature defines the heavy drinker: more than five drinks per day, in more than one occasion, and here is the definition of  alcohol addiction:

a chronic, progressive, potentially fatal disorder, marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence.

The consequences are disastrous: depression (one of the factors leading to cardiovascular diseases) family and social dysfunction, decreased productivity, damaged professional relations, failure to complete residency, failure to pass exams, etc.

If so, what can be done in order to manage this rather tragic situation?

I will just mention the need for a permanent education, from childhood to adult life, by not avoiding the subject in every, single targeted conversation, since prevention is the best treatment of any pathological situation.

Identifying the person suffering from alcohol addiction has to be followed by immediate measures, taken in two directions. In those rather “easy” cases, the best thing to do is to try to take care of the factors which produced this permanent stress, by reducing the amount of work and offering assistance in managing difficult cases in the operating room or in the intensive care unit. But sometimes there is a need for professional intervention, and in such a situation professional intervention is highly demanded. Today, chronic alcoholism could be successfully treated, by proposing the patient a list of things to be done in order to completely change his/her habits.

The return to work is problematic. It has to be done under permanent supervision (7), at least at the beginning, by observing and assessing the physician ability to cope with the demands of the routine activity.

Finally, one cannot forget a sentence taken from one of Raymond Chandler’s plays: “a man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober. An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all. You can’t predict anything about him for sure, except that he will be someone you never met before.”

Each of us can be in the same situation as that poor physician, addicted to the glass full of alcohol, but each of us is supposed to be responsible for helping the others, those addicted and in need of help.



  1. Hyman SA et al. Anesth Analg 2017;125:2009
  2. HawtonK et al. J Epidemiol Community Health 2001;55:296
  3. Farrugia J et al. Rev Med Liege 2019;74:336
  4. Silverstein JH et al. Anesthesiology 1993;79:354
  5. Gurman GM et al. J Clin Monitor Comput 2012;26:329
  6. Gurman GM. ESAIC Newsletter nr 61, Autumn 2015
  7. Strike PC, Steptoe A Heart 2002;88:441