This year’s Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) finally saw the return of in-person events after a two-year hiatus. More than 13,000 gastroenterologists, hepatologists and GI surgeons, separated since the outbreak of COVID-19, came together in San Diego (and virtually) to discuss the latest research and advances and to advocate for the needs of patients and members.
“I feel very fortunate to have been able to meet with colleagues and see some of the world’s leading experts discuss high-quality research and advances in hepatology, gastroenterology, GI surgery and endoscopy,” said DDW Council Chair Loren Laine, MD, of Yale School of Medicine. “DDW covers a diverse range of topics. This type of scientific exchange is key to advancing our field and the missions of our four professional societies.”
During the “Best of DDW” session on Tuesday, May 24, the four professional societies highlighted some of the most impactful presentations from the meeting.
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)
- Evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are effective in patients with cirrhosis.
- Increasing HCV positivity among mothers in the United States highlights the importance of broad screening.
- Real-world data suggest that protease inhibitor-based regimens may be safe in highly selected HCV patients with decompensated cirrhosis.
- New data on seladelpar as a promising treatment for primary biliary cholangitis.
- Higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease was seen in lean patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease compared to non-lean patients.
American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)
- New data provide reassurance on the cognitive impact of long-term proton pump inhibitor use.
- The Phase 3 trial CONSORT demonstrated the efficacy of a vibrating capsule in patients with chronic constipation.
- Fecal microbiota transplantation from superdonors may not provide additional benefit over auto-transplantation for patients with ulcerative colitis.
- Newly identified candidate genes and pathways involved in gastroparesis may pave the way for future mechanistic studies.
- Genetic biomarkers that correlate with risk of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma among heavy drinkers with obesity may offer a means to refine risk stratification.
View all AGA abstracts in Gastroenterology.
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE)
- In walled-off pancreatic necrosis, lumen-apposing metal stents may have advantages over double pigtail plastic stents.
- Endoscopic ultrasound-guided (EUS) portal pressure gradient correlated with clinical markers of portal hypertension and liver histology.
- Several studies compared outcomes in patients undergoing endoscope mucosal resection and endoscopic submucosal dissection.
- Retrospective studies compared outcomes in patients undergoing EUS-guided gastroenterostomy, enteral stent and surgery for malignant gastric outlet obstruction.
- Comparison of wet suction and slow pull EUS-fine needle biopsy for pancreatic lesions.
- Comparison of various methods for endoscopic gallbladder drainage.
View all ASGE abstracts in GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract (SSAT)
- Perioperative circulating tumor DNA shown to be informative in predicting recurrence in patients undergoing hepatectomy for colorectal liver metastases.
- A multidisciplinary evaluation improved patient outcomes and mitigated socioeconomic disparities in patients with pancreatic cancer.
- Validation of the PERI-Gastric model for predicting peritoneal failure after curative-aim gastrectomy.
In addition to the “Best Of” presentations, other key themes explored during the meeting included:
Discussing the pandemic’s impact on gastroenterology and hepatology. Speakers discussed the impact of the pandemic on GI surgery, alcohol-related liver diseases, and the management of chronic diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), as well as the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines in patients with liver diseases.
New guidelines and guidance documents from the AASLD: Speakers presented recent guidelines and guidance from AASLD on important and emerging topics in hepatology, including primary sclerosing cholangitis and cholangiocarcinoma, palliative care in decompensated liver disease and noninvasive liver disease assessment.
The role of emerging technologies in gastroenterology and hepatology. Advances in areas such as artificial intelligence, non-invasive diagnostics and screening tools, and the introduction of new biomarkers into risk models hold the potential to enhance patient care and improve shared decision-making between patients and physicians.
Focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion and physician well-being. This year’s program highlighted the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion for both physicians and patients. Speakers described disparities in health care and disease outcomes while the AGA presidential plenary included talks on how to increase diversity among gastroenterologists. Other talks described how to create a culture of inclusion, advance leadership for women, and recognize and address physician burnout.