Hybrid ERS Congress 2022 a Breath of Fresh Air

Neil Osterweil

August 31, 2022

For the first time in 3 years, the annual European Respiratory Society (ERS) 2022 International Congress will return in the now-familiar hybrid format, with live sessions as well as online and on-demand content for those who cannot attend the meeting in person. It will be held September 4-6 in beautiful Barcelona, Spain, one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

As in previous years, the congress will be packed with scientific and educational sessions covering every aspect of respiratory and critical care medicine and science. But don't take our word for it; here's what ERS leaders say they are looking forward to.

Pulmonary Hypertension

"Since 2020 and the COVID-19 outbreak, the ERS has developed an outstanding ability to organize high-quality digital conferences, allowing close interactions and discussion. I have very high expectations that this hybrid 2022 ERS congress will offer a vibrant face-to-face scientific conference and the best digital scientific offering to the respiratory community in Barcelona and worldwide," said ERS President Marc Humbert, MD, PhD, professor of respiratory medicine at the Université Paris-Saclay, in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, in an interview on the ERS website.

Humbert said he's particularly looking forward to a session focusing on joint European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and ERS guidelines on the treatment of pulmonary hypertension, a state-of-the-art session entitled "pulmonary vascular diseases," which will focus on how pulmonary hypertension complicates the course of lung and autoimmune disease, and a symposium on clinical challenges beyond guidelines, which will feature a discussion of imaging of pulmonary embolisms in pregnancy and optimal follow-up after acute pulmonary embolism.

Pediatric Respiratory Disease

ERS Vice-President Monika Gappa, MD, director of the Children's Hospital EVK in Dusseldorf, Germany, said she's looking forward to meeting with colleagues in person again, sharing experiences during COVID, and working on "strategies for improving respiratory health in the future."

She cited a hands-on course that will teach pediatric lung function testing, a symposium on prevention of wheeze and asthma in preschool age children, and a "lungs on fire" case-based discussion of pediatric respiratory diseases.

Asthma and COPD

ERS Science Council Chair Christopher Brightling, MD, professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Leicester, UK, chose the Abstract Leading to Evolution in Respiratory Medicine (ALERT) sessions for the latest information on research that can inform clinical practice and late-breaking clinical trial results.

"The year in review of biologics in asthma will help us to understand where they best fit in asthma management and what are the remaining unmet needs. For COPD, the hot topic session exploring resetting ambition in COPD towards its elimination will allow discussion of new paradigms for COPD research," he said in an interview on the ERS website.

Sleep Apnea and Hypoventilation

Obstructive sleep apnea is on the mind of ERS Education Council Chair Richard Costello, MD, a consultant physician at Beaumont Hospital Dublin and professor of medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, also in Dublin.

He said that he's particularly looking forward to a session on translational research in sleep apnea, a symposium on "the many faces of sleep apnea and hypoventilation syndrome," and an oral abstract session on innovations in noninvasive respiratory support.

Global Challenges

And just when you thought it was safe to venture out into the fresh air again, there will be several sessions reminding attendees about the challenges posed by climate change, pollution, the proliferation of microplastics, and other environmental assaults on respiratory health.

ERS Advocacy Council Chair Arzu Yorgancioğlu, MD, a professor in the department of pulmonology at Manisa Celal Bayar University in Turkey, emphasized the importance of "a holistic approach rather than a biomedical one" to prevent airway diseases.

She highlighted a symposium on "dangers in the air we breathe," which will focus on recent research into the clinical effects of airborne pollutants on the lungs, as well as the biology of allergen-induced lung disease and sex differences in response to pollution exposure.

Yorgancioğlu also pointed to a hot topics session on the use of data in respiratory healthcare and a primary care session on "forgotten issues in COPD."

Where Are You Going? Barcelona!

Congress attendees who can manage to slip away for a few hours will find the pleasures of Barcelona and Catalonia at their disposal, from Gaudi-designed buildings such as the breathtaking La Sagrada Familia cathedral and Casa Vicens, to the heights of Montjuic and the warm and gentle beaches of the Mediterranean. And that's not to mention the wonderful mix of Catalan and traditional Castilian restaurants, and the charming tangle of alleys and byways of the Gothic Quarter.

Benvinguts/Bienvenido a Barcelona!

Neil Osterweil, an award-winning medical journalist, is a long-standing and frequent contributor to Medscape.

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