On Saturday, December 1, 2018, the University Hospital of Zurich (USZ), Switzerland, led by the ECMO team under the direction of Max Halbe, Chief Perfusionist, hosted its first interdisciplinary symposium, Mechanical Circulation Support (MCS,) in the hospital facilities. More than 80 participants from the medical field, predominantly medical doctors and perfusionists, attended the inaugural event.
Well renowned speakers from Switzerland and Germany from a cross-section of disciplines such as anesthesiology, cardiac surgery, intensive care medicine, cardiology and perfusion presented the historical background as well as the current state in mechanical circulation support including such technical aspects as cannulation and venting. The presentations clearly demonstrated that there is a current trend in the increased use of techniques such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) / extracorporeal life support (ECLS) and other forms of mechanical circulation support.
The day began with introductory talks by Professors Ruschitzka and Wilhelm that stressed the importance for medical practitioners to bear in mind that when treating patients requiring mechanical circulatory support, often, if not in all instances, systemic hyperinflammation is present too, and plays a crucial role that can affect the further clinical course of the patient and potentially impact on the final outcome. Appropriate treatment strategies should therefore not only focus on the circulation support itself, but also on the hyperinflammatory situation present.
The afternoon sessions included practical workshops on cardiogenic shock, septic shock and Impella use, and offered insights into the technical set up of mechanical circulation support which included the integration of the CytoSorb adsorber into an ECLS circuit.
All in all, it was a day filled with informative and engaging presentations on this increasingly effective and promising therapy outlining the pathophysiologic rationale for its use and, equally as important, guidance was also provided for the practical application.
Next years’ event has already been announced for November 30, 2019 and we look forward to rejoining our colleagues and learning how the use of these therapies evolves over the coming months.