April 2018

Science vs. Experience in Anesthesia

“Good doctors use both individual clinical expertise and the best available external evidence, and neither alone is enough.” David Sackett, the father of evidence-based medicine, recognized a long time ago that relying on scientific studies alone is not sufficient in order to make profound medical decisions.

This year’s annual congress in the field of anesthesia (Wiener Anästhesietage) explored this particular topic of whether physicians base their actions on scientific studies and general guidelines or on their own personal judgment. In fact, medical advancement often requires basing decisions on personal experience as this is the only way for physicians to try a different approach from what is stated in medical papers.

This and other recent findings in anesthesia were discussed at the beautiful Billrothhaus in Vienna.

Legal implications for anesthetists when evaluating risks were explained, how to best educate patients and what preoperative measures need to be taken to evaluate that risk.

Jörg Michael Hiesmayr gave a talk on the importance of individual nutrition therapy for patients in the intensive care unit and Jenny Rosendahl presented the results of a successful study on how PTSD after being in the ICU for a long time can be reduced through journal-writing therapy.

Participants took a closer look at Angiotensin 2: its strong effect as a vasopressor was confirmed, however, this did not have any implications on the outcome of the sepsis patient.

Klaus Markstaller offered the audience a glimpse into a recent publication about how patient-specific management of blood pressure is more effective in avoiding complications.

We can see, the field of anesthesia is vibrant and ever-developing.