Spanning four days, from 20 – 23 August, Asia Pacific’s first ever AKI CRRT Congress was held in conjunction with the Malaysian Society of Nephrology’s (MSN) 33rd Annual Congress, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC). The power-packed international event was indeed a feast for the eyes (and the ears)—with an extensive scientific and social programme all lined up to make sure all delegates and visitors could benefit from the visit.

All under one roof: An informative, goal-driven and inclusive event

Jointly organised by MSN and San Diego’s CRRT, Inc., the inaugural congress kicked off on Sunday with an insightful pre-congress – welcoming close to a whopping 1,200 guests. Professor Dr Goh Bak Leong, President of MSN and Chair of the 1st Asia Pacific AKI CRRT Congress, welcomed guests and speakers from all over the globe in his opening address. 

Reminiscing the countless challenges the committee faced throughout the preparation, Dr Goh hoped this first congress would mark an inspiring start for more Asia Pacific AKI CRRT congresses to be held in the country, in the future.

Next, Prof Goh also shared reasons why the team went ahead with this massive undertaking—namely, the identification of acute kidney injury (AKI) as a human rights issue, wide variations in literature and lack of consistency in management, and the high mortality and morbidity rates due to AKI.

“Hence, MSN strongly believes that by organising this mirror congress of CRRT with San Diego, we would be able to bring in the worldwide experts from CRRT San Diego – for them to share their vast experience with the local community,” he highlighted.

MSN President, Professor Dr Goh Bak Leong delivering his opening address, as he welcomed delegates to the first-ever congress of its kind held in the Asia Pacific region
MSN President, Professor Dr Goh Bak Leong delivering his opening address, as he welcomed delegates to the first-ever congress of its kind held in the Asia Pacific region

Emphasising the need to bridge the knowledge gap between healthcare professionals, Prof Goh asserted that this congress catered to a diverse group of clinicians besides nephrologists—including generalists, anaesthesiologists, intensivists, paramedics, pharmacists as well as nutritionists.

President of CRRT, Inc. and advisor to this congress, Professor Dr Ravindra Mehta also welcomed the hundreds of guests present in the hall. He then shared his role in hosting the same annual conference in San Diego (which recently wrapped up its 22nd Annual Conference, in March), and his thrill to bring it over to the Asia Pacific region to reap more knowledge.

“I believe that we have strived to bridge for you a meeting which will hopefully inform you, engage you and – more importantly – energise you so that when you go back, you can take the knowledge and apply it to the patients’ lives and improve their outcomes,” echoed Dr Mehta.

Applicable experiences and the “0by25” ISN initiative

The four-day spectacle allowed a large number of experts – hailing from all corners of the globe – to take the stage and share their experiences and research with the other delegates.

Comprehensively, the first day (or pre-congress) entailed a multitude of talks for physicians and nurses, respectively. A focus on basic principles of AKI and CRRT as well as their complications were evident. Moreover, three symposiums sponsored by Baxter Healthcare (one of the event main sponsors) zoomed into updates for healthcare professionals on this pressing issue.

Symposiums and workshops carried on to day-2 and day-3 highlighted practical approaches in tackling management issues for patients with kidney ailments. Led by prolific professionals, the attendees engaged wholly in fluid balance, drug intoxication, biomarker detection and critical care management, to name a few.

Educational research-based posters were on display in the foyer of the convention centre as part of a competition held during the conference. Impressive exhibitions were also in place to educate healthcare professionals on latest technological advancements in this field.

A wide array of comprehensive research posters was on display in the foyer.
A wide array of comprehensive research posters was on display in the foyer.


Unique in dispensing valuable information: Exhibition booths, such as Baxter’s interactive display (pictured here), have definitely garnered much attention among congress attendees
Unique in dispensing valuable information: Exhibition booths, such as Baxter’s interactive display (pictured here), have definitely garnered much attention among congress attendees

An important message that was accentuated throughout the congress was the importance of upholding the International Society of Nephrology’s (ISN) “0by25” initiative; launched in 2015. The initiative aims to eliminate preventable deaths from AKI worldwide by 2025 via evidence, action as well as awareness and education.

Ashita Tolwani, Professor of Medicine in the University of Alabama shared benchmarks of measuring outcomes in AKI and CRRT during her talk on the final day. She relayed that the AKI incidences accounted for “21% of all hospital admissions and over 50% of intensive care unit patients.” Quoting the latest reports on AKI, Tolwani noted the dire need for healthcare professionals to improve the assessment and management of this condition in the face of a current unacceptable delay.

Putting knowledge into practice – to improve patients’ outcomes

Big grants were given out on the final day to pave the way for AKI research, carried out by various universities in the region. As pointed out by some of the key speakers, AKI research is lacking in South East Asia and warrants large prospective studies.

We managed to catch hold of Prof Mehta, despite the busy back-to-back agenda during the congress. When asked about his afterthoughts of the inaugural congress, Prof Mehta shared that the event aimed “to bring knowledge on critical care nephrology to the region and to raise awareness of AKI – and the opportunities we have – to further improve the outcomes of patients with this disease.”

Future outlook: Professor Dr Ravindra Mehta hoped that attendees would effectively prevent and manage their patients in the future to produce better outcomes.
Future outlook: Professor Dr Ravindra Mehta hoped that attendees would effectively prevent and manage their patients in the future to produce better outcomes.

As for the key message that attendees should take home, Prof Mehta hoped they “recognise that AKI is highly prevalent; it has a huge patient and global burden. Also, we have great opportunities to prevent and manage it… using the new tools. For instance, we have both biomarkers and renal replacement therapy to improve the survival for our patients.”

The next Asia Pacific AKI CRRT congress is reportedly in talks already – seemingly to be held in Taipei, according to Prof Goh. It is with great hope that Malaysia would put together yet another insightful line-up in the future AKI CRRT congresses. MIMS

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