ERS leaders’ top picks – Thierry Troosters


Thierry Troosters is the European Respiratory Society (ERS) President and a Fellow of ERS.

He is Professor in Rehabilitation Sciences at KU Leuven, where he heads the Research Group for Rehabilitation in Internal Disorders.

His research primarily focuses on pulmonary rehabilitation, physical activity and non-respiratory consequences of lung diseases. He has been active in international consortia on these topics.

Q: As president of the ERS, what are you most looking forward to about this year’s virtual event?

A: The Congress this year will be completely different. I’m looking forward to the whole ‘experience’ and how our members will enjoy it. I’ll have a different experience as I will have the opportunity to be physically present in the sessions. I heard already that many people will organise ‘mini-ERS-at-home’ sessions including small and safely organised ‘staff dinners’ after the evening session (keeping social distance)... This is a way not to lose the ERS feeling completely, and actually to involve even more people than usual into our Congress. The digital format also allows for interesting ‘live procedure’ sessions, like live endoscopy. Technology now permits us to bring a top European treatment center right to your desk! 

I’m confident the format will ensure that people will benefit maximally from the digital format, and I sincerely hope our early career members as well as more senior delegates will engage in the many oral presentation sessions of abstracts. Lastly, I’m looking forward to how the world will connect. With our sessions in dedicated languages, we’ll truly cater to the world. I hope people from all around the globe will have the ability to connect in large numbers and provide fertile ground to exchange ideas to move respiratory health forward into the next decade.

Q: What in your opinion will be the hot topics for pulmonary rehabilitation specialists during this year's Congress?

A: I’m excited for the symposium on Exercise and sleep (Monday 7 September, 18:00–19:00 CEST). The relationship between exercise, physical activity and sleep quality is important to further explore, and I’m convinced that a good understanding will help sleep experts to refer patients with sleep problems for exercise training or physical activity programmes. On the other hand, those delivering these programmes need more knowledge on the specific problems and therapies provided to patients with obstructive sleep apnoea or other sleep disturbances. Improved interactions between the involved health professionals can make a big difference to a large group of patients.

Another session that looks highly interesting is the session on Managing frailty in patients with acute and chronic lung disorders (Wednesday 9 September, 18:0019:00 CEST). It is important that respiratory clinicians have attention for non-respiratory problems of patients. Often they cause more disease burden and sometimes these can be easily treated. Frailty is a science by itself and while I’m not following that field on a day-to-day basis, I hope to get an update on the problem of frailty and what I should know to deal with frail patients.

While I think that pulmonary rehabilitation will continue to be delivered in dedicated rehabilitation programmes across all lines of healthcare, I’m also convinced that in the future we will use more digital interfaces with our patients for the moments in-between sessions, or in the follow-up or coaching towards a more active life. In that sense, I’m very much interested in the session Digital health: a brave new world (Wednesday 9 September, 11:5012:50 CEST) and the Hot topic session, Insights from wearable respiratory sensors and AI (Wednesday 9 September, 9:3010:30 CEST). These are things that are hard to read through in the specialised literature, but an update in these symposia will help me and my patients to make the next steps forward in the digital world.

I’m also looking particularly forward to the abstract presentations in e-posters in respiratory physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Every year it’s a breath of fresh air to see how PhD students and their academic and clinical teams come up with solutions to research and clinical questions. This year, I’ll have more time to explore the abstracts in the days leading up to the Congress and in the moderated sessions.

Q: Tell us your top three picks from the virtual Congress programme:

1. All of the Lungs on fire series with clinical cases from the major disease areas. The sessions will be live and take place everyday during the Congress.

2. Language days: connecting Chinese, Russian, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese colleagues with each other in an international update session.

3. The live ALERT sessions will cover recent randomised clinical trials. These trials are submitted at the last minute, and will ensure that you are updated on the most important clinical trials to be published in the months to come. This is a must see, particularly for those who want to be fully updated in their clinical practice. 

Back to all 'ERS leaders' top picks'

View all programme highlights

Access the Congress programme

Copyright © 2020 - ERS International Congress - European Respiratory Society. All Rights Reserved.