By Kassi Kronfeld (left) and Alexis Steinberg (right)
The Neurocritical Care Society made a strong showing once again at this year’s AAN Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, with several events and lectures featuring NCS members. The Resident and Fellow Committee, in conjunction with the support of the executive board and Drs. David Hwang and David Freeman, helped to coordinate and publicize these events, allowing for the strong neurocritical care presence at AAN.
The highlighted NCS sponsored event at the AAN was the Neurocritical Care Society Mentorship Luncheon. For the last three years, the Mentorship Luncheon has been a staple at AAN. The luncheon was well attended by mostly residents, fellows and even a few medical students, all interested in neurocritical care. Appropriate for the Los Angeles setting, the event started off with a delicious taco bar. Then, a speaker panel featuring Drs. Tom Bleck, Dave Freeman, Holly Hinson and Asma Moheet provided their thoughts on different aspects of neurocritical care. Topics of discussion ranged from identifying successful mentors, choosing a career path, research, early career development, quality improvement and work-life balance.
Next, panel members broke into small group discussions for attendees to ask more specific questions and have more in-depth discussion. There were even guest appearances from Drs. David Hwang and Neeraj Badjatia, who also provided input about neurocritical care to the various trainees. After the event, Dr. Holly Hinson stated how she “hopes [the event] continues each year.” Dr. Asma Moheet said that “being able to connect with people who are just discovering neurocritical care and hungry to learn more is one of the most exciting and fulfilling things I’m privileged to do.” Overall, the event was very successful and hopefully was able to provide insight to the many trainees who are interested neurocritical care.
The “Navigating your Career” session by Dr. Matthew Maas is another staple neurocritical care event at AAN and has been at the AAN for the last several years. A large audience attended the session, with many participants standing in the back. The event is an open forum, where Dr. Maas discussed different aspects of neurocritical care, from the structure of different fellowship programs to what it means to be a neurointensivist. He provided useful information to the audience and, unsurprisingly, made the entire crowd laugh with his wit. Afterwards, many of the participants even stayed back to ask him more individualized questions.
Numerous neurocritical care related lectures were part of AAN’s schedule. The most unique session was by Dr. Tom Bleck, who gave a HeadTalks presentation on neuro-bioterrorism. Naturally, Dr. Bleck’s interest in neuroterrorism started because many biochemical warfare agents can cause status epilepticus. He taught the audience about these different agents and their effects on the nervous system, helping physicians with early recognition of various toxidromes.
Additionally, a full day was dedicated to the essentials of neurocritical care. Drs. David Greer, Kristine O’Phalen and Lori Shutter each organized one of the sessions, which informed the audience about general neurocritical topics including neuroprognostication, multimodality monitoring, medical treatment of subarachnoid hemorrhage, management of neuromuscular diseases and many more. Different neurointensivists also had dedicated sessions on specific subjects within the neurointensive care units, from Targeted Temperature Management to Status Epilepticus. Dr. Muehlschlegel created an informative session on “Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: From ICU to Rehabilitation.” She taught the audience about management and prognosis of TBI patients. Dr. Brian Edlow went through different imaging in TBI, including unique research modalities that will hopefully allow us to better understand TBI and coma. Lastly, Dr. David Brophy discussed the pharmacological and rehabilitative approaches to neurological sequelae of TBI. The entire session was well attended with inquisitive questions at the end. Besides a formal lecture on TBI, the topic also made an appearance in the Clinical Trials Plenary Session, where the BOOST 2 trial was presented and further discussed.
The neurocritical care section meeting included updates on UCNS, ABMS and CAST-SNS. There was also a discussion regarding how to increase the number of fellowship applicants, after the most recent 100 percent match rate with many unfilled positions. There was a debate regarding the balance between getting competitive applicants versus saturation in the field. Many participants felt that there is limited resident and medical student exposure to neurocritical care, as many neurology programs do not have a required rotation. The conclusion was there could be a role for considering a minimum trainee exposure to neurocritical care.
New this year was a Neurocritical Care Society booth, which provided information about the society to the many AAN attendees. The booth offered discounted membership prices to anyone interested. Many NCS products were also available for purchase, including our recently published “Pocket Guide to Neurocritical Care.”
Overall, many successful neurocritical care events occurred at the AAN 2018 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, increasing the visibility and enthusiasm for our field. The Resident and Fellow Committee, with help from Drs. David Hwang and David Freeman, created events that we hope sparked interest and provided information about neurocritical care to the many trainees that attended the meeting. We look forward to helping the Neurocritical Care Society’s presence continue to grow at AAN, exposing many more trainees and healthcare providers to the field.#NCSRoundup #ResidentandFellow #KassiKronfeld #AlexisSteinberg #June2018