The AARC 2003 Conference offered informative sessions and a robust, bustling vendor exhibition show.

By Anne Welsbacher

December’s American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) conference in Las Vegas was my first, a terrific closer to my pilot year with RT magazine. The conference was stuffed with good sessions and forums; it was difficult to choose which to attend, and some that I intended to slip out of mid session so that I could catch others ended up snaring me for the full round. Feedback from colleagues was similar—a common complaint I heard was that trying to decide what to miss was the biggest problem. One of my editorial advisory board members said the AARC conference “gets bigger each time; the presentations are always excellent, and you almost get ADD trying to figure out which ones to attend!”

Anne Welsbacher

The exhibit hall was bustling with new and returning vendors, and many of the clinical sessions going on a floor away reflected interesting developments in their wares. Sessions and forums covered studies, for example, measuring and comparing nebulizer outputs, variances in ventilator performances, pulmonary diagnostics monitors, and gas analyzers. Sleep, home care, practice management, education, international respiratory care, and pediatrics are just a few of the other topics covered in the 5-day event.

I got only a small taste of the offerings; I was sorry to miss, among others, the session on gender trends in respiratory care, the first-ever forum on heliox and ventilators, and discussions of ARDSNET. I would appreciate feedback on these or any other of the sessions at AARC. I found particularly interesting the new horizons symposium on evidence-based respiratory care, which addressed both the defining philosophy of this trend in clinical practice and specific case-study examples of its benefits, both medical and bottom line. At least one presentation in this session stressed the importance of factoring in patient values and expectations when making clinical choices. Among the “controversies” track was a pro-con discussion of new asthma therapies, a topic we will be addressing in these pages in the coming year. We also will address quality of life concerns this year, another topic included at the AARC show.

This was my baseline conference. It struck me as robust and growing, perhaps more focused on technology than in past years. What did you take from this annual gathering? I welcome your feedback, and look forward to spending the new year exploring with you the trends and practice of this fascinating field.


Anne Welsbacher is the former editor of RT. For more information, contact [email protected].