Research work as a “hobby” is sustainable only in short term
Marko Zdravković, MD, PhD, a consultant of anaesthesiology, resuscitation and perioperative intensive care from the University Medical Centre Maribor, Slovenia, received the good news about the nomination for this year's IMA in the – as he himself described it, and the majority would certainly agree with him – corona-crazy year. A place in the finals or even a victory would be a great incentive for further research work, especially because in the seven years of the IMA contest in the field of anaesthesiology there was no winner from Slovenia, so a victory would put his country on the IMA research map.
As a dedicated clinician and researcher, he is very critical of inadequate working conditions in Slovenia.
The conditions for research work for doctors who actually work full-time with patients are very poor, especially in the field of anaesthesiology. In fact, most of the research work is done in our free time. This is possible in short term, but in the long run the appropriate infrastructure is necessary for successful research. One of the key causes of such conditions is probably the rapid expansion of the range of medical activities that require an anaesthesiologist. We cannot meet these needs even with the accelerated recruitment of young doctors. In light of this, each institution primarily considers us as a service for the implementation of healthcare programmes. There is very little understanding for the fact that research in our area should also be supported in order to keep developing our medical field, for which we need to devote time at work and not primarily our free time, as is currently the case.
Anaesthesiology is a profession that is often and unjustly neglected in the media. Hence, the general public knows very little about what “anaesthesia” is and is rarely familiar with the novelties and the people behind them. And there are a lot of new things, shares Dr. Zdravković!
Progress in anaesthesiology is enormous, similar to other fields in medicine. In fact, anaesthesiology is not just a single field of work. For example, the work of an anaesthesiologist in a maternity hospital is significantly different from anaesthesia for a heart surgery. We also work as intensivists (which is especially evident during the coronavirus crisis), resuscitators, and we are also indispensable in relieving chronic pain.
In his research work, Dr. Zdravković and his team focused on female patients who underwent a gynaecological surgery with a laparoscopic technique which is a less invasive surgical approach for abdominal surgery. After the procedure, the patients recover faster and with less pain
Precisely because of the “less painful” nature of the procedure, some studies have concluded that recognizing and treating pain is often worse than after procedures where greater pain intensity is expected. Due to the change in health policy during the “opioid crisis” mainly in North America and the consequent active search for anaesthetic techniques to reduce opioid use in the perioperative period, we decided to examine the impact of adding spinal analgesia to general anaesthesia on pain medication consumption. We showed that a clinically significant reduction in opioid consumption during and after the surgery can be achieved even with a low dose of a spinal analgesic. At the same time, we reliably achieved the target value of postoperative pain which should be less than 3 on the scale from 0 to 10.
The results of the study could help optimize perioperative care of the patients undergoing laparoscopic surgery, both in terms of stable cardiovascular function and optimal pain relief.
Even though his work takes a lot of time, Dr. Zdravković tries to spend as much time as he can with his family.
My days are usually enriched by my wife Tanja and my two sons, 5-year-old Tim and 5-month-old baby Nik. When there is time, I like to cook, watch a good film and play a game of Tarok. For some time now, I have been missing a good discussion about the nature of the universe and spending time with friends.