ISPCOP: An Update on How Far We Have Come in the Past 7 Years

| March 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

by Anupama Wadhwa, MD; Roman Schumann, MD, FASA; Stephanie Jones, MD

Dr. Wadhwa is with Norton Brownsboro Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Schumann a Professor of Anesthesiology at Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Jones is with Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts. 

Funding: No funding was provided for this article.

Disclosures: The authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this article.

Bariatric Times. 2018;15(3):20–21.

Board of Directors

ISPCOP officers and Board of Directors

  • Dr. Anupama Wadhwa, President, USA
  • Dr. Roman Schumann, Immediate Past President, USA
  • Dr. Stephanie Jones, Past President, Treasurer, USA
  • Dr. Adrian Sultana, Secretary, Australia
  • Dr. Naveen Eipe, Vice President for Education, Canada
  • Dr. Nafiu Olubukola, Vice President for Research, USA

At-large Board of Directors

  • Dr. Luiz Fernando dos Reis Falcão, Brazil
  • Dr. Tiffany Moon, USA
  • Dr. Rainer Lenhardt, USA
  • Dr. Patrick Ziemann-Gimmel, USA
  • Dr. Konstantin Balonov, USA
  • Dr. Angieszka Pietrzak, USA

ISPCOP, the International Society for the Perioperative Care of the Obese Patient, was originally founded in 2004 and then re-launched in 2010 at the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) annual meeting in San Diego, California. Founding members include Jay Brodsky, MD (Stanford University, California) and Adrian Alvarez, MD (Buenos Aires, Argentina). ISPCOP’s mission is “to promote excellence in clinical management, education, and research regarding the care of patients with morbid obesity during the perioperative period.” This article summarizes the development of the society following our 2011 Bariatric Times report by then President Ashish Sinha, MD.1 The members of ISPCOP recognize the need for awareness of and education about anesthesia-related issues in patients with morbid obesity undergoing bariatric and non-bariatric surgery, as well as the special physiologic implications for anesthesia and the skill set required to care for this vulnerable population. Patients with severe obesity will be encountered in all practice areas of anesthesiology, including off-site, pediatrics, obstetrics, pain medicine, and critical care. Obesity remains a leading public health crisis, increasing healthcare costs due to weight-related comorbidities, and a high body mass index is strongly correlated with all-cause mortality.2–4

Since 2010, ISPCOP has had collaborative relationships with its sister societies, the European Society for the Perioperative Care of the Obese Patient (ESPCOP), the European counterpart of ISPCOP, and the Society for Obesity and Bariatric Anesthesia (SOBA), which is based in the United Kingdom; all three societies publish a combined online newsletter. The ISPCOP website ( provides practical, useful, and evidence-based information regarding the care of patients with severe obesity, as well as frequent updates on future obesity-related scientific meetings. The site also allows registration for the annual ISPCOP symposium, usually held in October, in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the ASA. In addition, the history of the society, past meetings, and educational material from past symposia are accessible to members, and prospective members can join online.  ISPCOP is currently conducting an Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved survey study regarding the use of supraglottic airways in patients with obesity and is actively pursuing additional study proposals

Following its re-inauguration in 2010, ISPCOP has sponsored an annual scientific symposium, including a distinguished speaker panel each year on obesity-related topics. The symposium has evolved from a standard lecture format to multiple focused short presentation discussions on key issues and new developments in anesthetic care of patients with severe obesity. Prominent international speakers have participated in the symposia, often through collaboration with ESPCOP and SOBA, resulting in a steadily growing attendance. Continuing medical education (CME) credit is provided for each meeting, and one of the ISPCOP board members serves as the program chair. Being mindful of the importance of research related to obesity, the first ISPCOP research award was presented at the 2013 symposium. The symposium now includes a poster review session with awards for the top three submitted abstracts. Despite an increasingly pressured fiscal environment in healthcare, ISPCOP has been able to offer free symposium attendance thanks to generous industry support, and the organization hopes to continue this tradition. The seventh annual ISPCOP symposium at Anesthesiology 2018 will be on October 15, 2018 in San Francisco, California. The theme is “Point of Care Ultrasound in Obesity Anesthesia,” and the symposium will include hands-on workshops. More information is available at

Members of ISPCOP, ESPCOP, and SOBA had a strong presence at the World Congress of Anaesthesiologists (WCA) held in Argentina in 2012 as part of a full-day curriculum track dedicated to education on pathophysiology, perioperative management, and complications related to anesthesia of patients with severe obesity. The WCA 2016 was presented in Hong Kong and included a full day obesity track. Speakers from ISPCOP, ESPCOP, SOBA, and the Society for Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine shared the day. Then President Roman Schumann, MD; Naveen Eipe, MD, VP for Education; Rainer Lenhardt, MD, member of the Board; Adrian Sultana, MD, Secretary; and Stephanie Jones, MD, immediate past President and current Treasurer, were the speakers on behalf of ISPCOP. We are now planning WCA 2020, which will be held in Prague, Czech Republic.

Regarding interdisciplinary collaboration, for the last three years ISPCOP has been designated a Level 2 partner at ObesityWeek, the joint annual meeting of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and The Obesity Society (TOS). Level 2 partnership involves the development and implementation of a multidisciplinary educational or scientific program at the meeting, usually in the form of a panel. ISPCOP provided a Level 2 interdisciplinary panel with surgical colleagues again in 2017, and we hope to repeat this success in 2018.

The Obesity Summit, led by Dr. John Morton of Stanford University, provides a platform for collaborative obesity medicine-related efforts from 30 medical specialty societies representing about 500,000 medical professionals. ISPCOP, along with high-ranking ASA officials, has represented the specialty of anesthesiology at these summits that aim to set a framework of medical treatment guidelines and policy for patients with severe obesity. Following review and approval by the Board of Directors of ISPCOP, we endorsed the first Obesity Summit consensus statement for best practices in the medical care of obese patients.

In addition to scientific publications in high impact anesthesiology and surgery journals by individual members of the society and their collaborators, ISPCOP members contribute regularly to the Bariatric Times.

The ISPCOP Board of Directors (BoD) is an elected, diverse group of international clinicians, experts in obesity anesthesia care with different educational and geographical backgrounds.

The society welcomes any medical professional or trainee, including physicians, nurses, and allied health care providers with an interest in the perioperative care of patients with severe obesity, to become involved and join the society.

Future plans. Obesity remains a challenge in medical and perioperative care globally. Continued education and evidence-based guideline development are major objectives for the society, as well as the advancement of science in this particular field. As we continue to grow, we are looking to strengthen our international presence at anesthesia and interdisciplinary scientific and educational meetings. We will explore novel meeting formats that might include interactive web-based media and the addition of airway and ultrasound workshops (including airway, gastric, and regional anesthesia) to our meeting repertoire.


  1. Sinha A. International Society for the Perioperative Care of the Obese Patient. Bariatric Times. 2011;8(7):11.
  2. Twig G, Yaniv G, Levine H, et al. Body mass index in 2.3 million adolescents and cardiovascular death in adulthood. N Engl J Med. 2016;374:2430–40.
  3. Aune D, Abhijit S, Prasad M, et al. BMI and all cause mortality: systematic review and non-linear dose-response meta-analysis of 230 cohort studies with 3.74 million deaths among 30.3 million participants. BMJ. 2016;353:i2156.
  4. The GBD 2015 Obesity Collaborators. Health effects of overweight and obesity in 195 countries over 25 years. N Engl J Med. 2017;377:13–27.

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Category: Past Articles, Society News

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