Report on a hugely successful 5th ERAS® World Congress

The 5th ERAS® World Congress was held between 10th-12th May 2017, at the Centre De Congres, Lyon, France.

As in previous years, it consisted of the ERAS® Course followed by the Scientific Programme. Throughout the Congress, they were many excellent lectures from experts from around the World including Europe, North America and Asia.

The ERAS® course was again a popular event and sold out with the delegates learning about the relevant physiology underpinning the concepts of ERAS®, viewed from many perspectives – surgeon, anaesthesiologist, nurse, manager and of course, the patient. This year it was condensed into an afternoon course. There was a step by step approach to implementation of ERAS® process and the evidence behind the many elements of care that make up modern ERAS® process, including not only the immediate perioperative steps, but also the importance of preoperative patient education and postoperative audit and quality maintenance. There were also separate specialist talks on Gynaecology, Urology and Orthopaedics.

The same afternoon there were specialist group symposia for Urology, Women’s Health and Nursing, all of which proved very popular.

The Scientific Programme started the next day, with a session devoted to the pathophysiological basis of ERAS, addressing key areas of the stress response and how it can be modified, opioids and cancer free survival with other aspects of pain control. The difficult areas of fluid therapy and nutrition were also discussed.

The prestigious Henrik Kehlet Lecture by Professor Greet van den Berghe from Leuven, entitled The role of autophagy in the metabolism and outcomes after surgery gave a scholarly insight into postoperative pathophysiological processes

The afternoon session had well attended sessions on New Themes in ERAS®, Recovery beyond the hospital and Strategies for the ER implantation. The day closed with 6 excellent abstract research presenations, following which there was a highly enjoyable drinks reception, where everyone was able to network, view posters and meet with our sponsors.

The second day of the Congress began with How ERAS® will change the Future, followed by a session entitled: Do the Guidelines Work? The Transition from theory to Practice. Following coffee there were two popular debates: Bowel Preparation is unnecessary in Colon and Rectum Surgery (proposal agreed) and Epidural Analgesia is obsolete within ERAS programmes (proposal rejected). The morning session closed with 6 ‘rapid fire’ oral research presentations.

The afternoon session started with Ken Fearon lecture, in memory Co-founder and Chairman of the ERAS Society Board, who sadly died last September (  In fitting memory, Professor Alessandro Laviano, from Rome,  gave an outstanding and indeed fitting tribute to Ken entitled Cachexia and the long-term outcome of surgical cancer patients. Even for those not fortunate enough to have met Ken it was still a very poignant and moving session.

The Congress concluded with a session on reducing risks, followed a concluding lecture by our ERAS society Chairman Professor Ljungqvist entitled the ongoing surgical revolution, with the last ten minutes devoted to Professor Ljungqvist and our Scientific Chairman Professor Dileep Lobo award prizes to  Dr Nicolò Pecorelli, wining  the Rapid Fire Presentations entitled Does The Risk Of Postoperative Complications Affect The Adherence To Enhanced Recovery Pathways After Pancreaticoduodenectomy?, and Mr Nader Frances for the best abstract entitled Can Hydrogen Breath Test Predict Postoperative Ileus Following Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery And Within ERAS Programme?

What were the highlights of the Congress?  It is impossible to say with nearly three days with world experts, an enthusiastic and engaged delegates and talented researchers all meeting to exchange experiences. Certainly, the Henrik Kehlet and Ken Fearon Lectures were outstanding. In addition, the presentation of new and original work and ideas is always a very exciting and were of a very high standard this year, for it is with these talented researchers that the evidence base which underpins the future success is fundamental for ERAS®.

The loss of Professor Ken Fearon was palpable at times, yet the legacy of the society he co-founded with Professor Olle Ljungqvist lives on as a fitting tribute to a great man.

The huge success of the Congress is made possible only by the hard work of the Organising Committee and the Local Committee, to whom we express our sincere gratitude. In addition, we are most grateful to the sponsorship we receive from industry and the expert assistance from MCI.

The 6th ERAS® World Congress is already being planned for Stockholm from May 23rd to May 25th 2018 and we look forward to welcoming you and your teams there!