This year I had the pleasure of participating in the ESO Summer School Program, hosted virtually by the Caen University Hospital Department of Neurology. The ESO Summer School is an annual event where stroke fellows and neurology trainees interested in cerebrovascular disease are able to meet and receive teaching from experts in the field over a three-day seminar. This year, our hosts, Emmanuel Touzé, Marion Boulanger and Carine Ali, had the additional challenge of organizing and coordinating an event featuring up to 30 participants and more than 20 presenters, through a pandemic.

I am happy to report that the Caen Neurology team met and surpassed expectations, organizing a fantastic three-day virtual seminar featuring lectures from experts in the field on areas ranging from acute stroke care, small vessel disease, secondary stroke prevention, and organizational structures in stroke care. In addition to lectures, participants were allocated into small groups prior to the start of the seminar and given topics to present on. These topics were areas of stroke care that continue to be subjects of debate and controversy and included the following:

  • Thrombolysis + Thrombectomy vs. Thrombectomy Alone for Large Vessel Occlusion Stroke
  • Mothership vs. Drip and Ship Models
  • Anticoagulation after Intracerebral Hemorrhage
  • Blood Pressure Management after Ischemic and Hemorrhagic Stroke

These debate sessions were moderated by major experts in the field. In our debate on bridging therapy vs. direct to endovascular clot retrieval, we had the privilege of being joined by Professors Urs Fischer and Yvo Roos who shared their insights and experiences on coordinating and running the SWIFT-DIRECT and MR CLEAN NO-IV trials. It was a great opportunity to have a casual back and forth with these individuals and gain a more solid understanding of the internal mechanics and complexities of running a clinical trial. Our debate on mothership vs. drip and ship models were hosted by Professor Heinrich Audebert, who shared his experiences on implementing a mobile stroke unit in Berlin and Professor Natalia Perez de la Ossa, the head of the RACECAT trial who discussed the major findings of her study and the implications of how performing a major organizational trial changed stroke care for the state of Catalonia. Further highlights include two very insightful lectures from Professors Valeria Caso and Mira Katan on left atrial appendage closure and extended monitoring for heart arrythmias, respectively.

A number of translational lectures on new and exciting areas of research were also featured throughout the seminar. Personal highlights include learning about advances in our understanding of small vessel disease pathophysiology, novel antithrombotic targets for acute thrombolysis (e.g. von Willebrand factor), and watching a demonstration of how a MCA stroke is generated in a rodent model. Each seminar day ended with a social session highlighting the beauty and history of Caen, a city in northern France which is home to the beaches of Normandy.

It was a privilege to attend this seminar and learn about stroke practices in Europe. I would like to thank Emmanuel, Marion, Carine, all the presenters, and the tech team (Jenni and Jason) for their hard work. It was a pleasure to network and meet with up-and-coming stroke clinicians and scientists. I look forward to working with them in the future!

Author Details:  

Vignan Yogendrakumar MD MSc FRCPC

Twitter handle: @VYogendrakumar.

Dr. Yogendrakumar is a stroke fellow and doctoral candidate at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.