Grow, Connect, and Be Inspired at CHEST 2023

One surefire measure of the enthusiasm for this year’s American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) annual meeting is that members of the program committee were swamped by high-quality scientific abstracts, far too many to be crammed into just a few days.

“This was a record-breaking year for submissions, with almost 1500 original investigations, and almost 4000 submissions if you include case reports and so forth,” said Guy W. Soo Hoo, MD, chair of the CHEST 2023 Scientific Presentations and Awards committee, and chief of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare in California.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that those whose abstracts were accepted will get to present their findings at the open-air Hawaii Convention Center, just a few blocks from the sun-washed beaches of southern Honolulu.

The theme of CHEST 2023, which starts Sunday and runs through October 11, is “Grow, Connect, and Be Inspired,” and program planners have spent countless hours to bring those promises to fruition.

Although there were initial concerns about whether it would be appropriate to hold the meeting in light of the recent devastating wildfires on the island of Maui and the strains on the local community, “information from local authorities [indicates] that Hawaii, Maui included, is in need of economic support — including tourism — to rebuild and support local residents. Given these updates, we will proceed with CHEST 2023 as planned, including the Master Classes taking place in the southern region on Maui in Wailea following the annual meeting,” a statement on the meeting website reads.

Connecting With the Community

“What we’re really focusing on this year is a full immersive experience,” said Aneesa Das, MD, chair of the CHEST 2023 Scientific Program Committee, in an interview with Medscape Medical News.

That immersive experience will include an important new initiative aimed at bolstering pulmonary care in the community.

“We’re launching a program called the Chest Community Connection, where we identify local organizations and help amplify their message and ensure that all the great work that’s being done locally is being communicated at our meeting. And we are also supporting them in various ways,” said Das, a pulmonologist and professor of internal medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Dublin, Ohio.

One organization that will benefit from the initiative is the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, which has recently instituted a produce prescription program to help improve local access to fresh fruits and vegetables. CHEST will host a table focusing on pediatric and youth asthma awareness at the Waianae farmer’s market on Saturday, and will also be distributing free inhaler masks and spacers to the local community to help care for children with asthma.

A Focus on Problem-Based Learning

The immersive experience will of course also extend to CHEST 2023 educational sessions.

“Not only are you going to be learning by going to your traditional didactic sessions, but there will also be higher-level, more interactive sessions,” Das said.

One example of this approach is the Problem-Based Learning sessions, which are limited in enrollment to a maximum of 25 participants and feature one or more faculty members with special expertise at tackling controversial or challenging clinical problems in pulmonary medicine, critical care, and sleep.

Problem-based learning sessions will focus on interstitial lung disease (ILD), non-resolving pneumonia, biologics in asthma, advanced positive-pressure therapies and non-invasive ventilation, lung-cancer screening do’s and don’ts, how to manage a crashing patient in the ICU, and how to use cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) to solve difficult cases.

“In these sessions you can work with a group or a team like you would in real practice,” Das said.

Attendees will also have the chance to hone their technique or learn new skills in simulation sessions on bronchoscopic evaluation and management of persistent air leaks; advanced critical care echocardiography; extraglottic airway management and cricothyrotomy for failed airways; when to start and stop extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO); and other topics.

Scientific and Educational Sessions

Soo Hoo outlined for Medscape the multiple original investigations that will be presented, including sessions on chest infections in patients with COVID-19; new insights into shock; lung cancer screening, diagnosing and staging; cardiothoracic surgery; personalized medicine in ILD and obstructive lung disease; fungal and mycobacterial infections; severity and outcomes in pulmonary vascular disease; and robotics in bronchoscopy.

Special Events

In keeping with the “connect” part of this year’s theme, special events will highlight different groups to foster relationships among healthcare professionals from different backgrounds who share similar interests and career goals.

The events will include a Women in Chest Medicine luncheon with speakers who “will reflect on their individual journeys to leadership and provide guidance on how attendees can empower themselves and their colleagues to be strong advocates and allies,” according to the meeting website.

In addition, there will be an “Ohana” mixer, open to all attendees, where participants can mingle, network, and learn more about the newly formed Respiratory Care and Women in Chest Medicine interest groups. Ohana is a Hawaiian word referring to familial bonds among all Native Hawaiians.

And of course, this being Hawaii, there will be a welcome reception for all attendees on Sunday from 5:15 pm to 8 pm (Hawaii time) on the great lawn at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, just a few blocks from the meeting site.

Meeting organizers promise that attendees can “listen to music from the Hawaiian islands, enjoy traditional dances from Hawaii, Polynesia, and the Pacific; and be amazed by acrobatic fire dancers while savoring a luau feast.”

American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) 2023 Annual Meeting: October 8-11, Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu.

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

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