How important is the quality of the air we breathe, the quality of our sleep and the spaces we inhabit for the health of our body? How has pulmonology changed after Covid-19? These are some of the questions that experts from all over Italy and abroad will try to answer on the occasion of the XXIV national congress of Italian pulmonology to be held in Bari, at the Fiera del Levante, from 9 to 11 June. An opportunity to take stock of diseases of the respiratory system and the most relevant news concerning the treatments available. About 2,000 specialists – reads a note – will discuss pathologies with a high growth rate from a demographic and epidemiological point of view, with a great emotional impact and an equally significant impact from a social and sustainability point of view.

At the center of the congress respiratory diseases, such as asthma and COPD, lung cancer, respiratory sleep disorders, but also health policy issues linked to the implementation of the Pnrr, interventional pulmonology and transplants. Furthermore, during the event, an initiative created by the Italian Federation of Pulmonology (Fip) will be presented, together with the scientific societies that deal with diseases of the respiratory system: Italian Association of Hospital Pulmonologists – Italian thoracic society (Aipo-Its) and the Italian respiratory society – Italian respiratory society (Sip / Irs) in collaboration with Legambiente. In fact, 300 trees were planted, 150 in the province of Catania last November and as many in the pine forest of Parco San Francesco di Bari.

This initiative – continues the note – aims to raise public awareness of the importance of the combination of environmental health – respiratory health, as well as making citizens aware of the importance of breathing clean air, living in a green and unpolluted context. Pulmonologists want to remind you that vegetation plays a very important role: it represents a biological filter capable of absorbing gaseous pollutants through the leaves and heavy metals through the roots.

“For this edition we have thought of the term ‘PneumoLogica’ – explains Mauro Carone, director of UOC Pneumology and respiratory rehabilitation Irccs Maugeri Bari and president of the congress – because we live in an era in which we are merging technological and bioinformatics capabilities with current knowledge medical. A fusion of reason, logic, humanism and technology that must lead to the improvement of care for our patients. What we have called ‘the Enlightenment of pulmonology’”.

During the meeting “we will talk about the reorganization of pulmonology – underlines Carone – especially after the Covid-19 and the establishment of semi-intensive respiratory therapy sections; of the new Lea, of the Pnrr and of the state of implementation of healthcare interventions with the need for correct hospital-territory integration. Tele-pneumology and tele-rehabilitation will also be at the center of the works; the National Rehabilitation Plan; the impact of pollution and climate change on respiratory health; precision medicine and new therapies. There is also space for the Certification of skills, a project that is close to the heart of Aipo-Its to have increasingly competent and certified professionals”.

In Italy, 400,000 new cases of cancer and 180,000 premature deaths due to cancer are recorded every year – reports the note – This figure is not distributed uniformly and randomly across the territory; there is a concentration in areas subject to environmental pollution.

“The relationship between air pollution and climate change is twofold – underlines Giovanni Viegi, former research director at the Cnr Institute of Lining Physiology of Pisa – Many air pollutants, produced to a large extent by the use of fossil fuels, contribute to the greenhouse effect. On the other hand, climate change can amplify the health impacts of atmospheric pollution, for example by influencing meteorological conditions from a physico-chemical point of view and therefore the formation and persistence of pollutants in the atmosphere; moreover, climate change can increase the risk and severity of forest fires and the release of pollen into the atmosphere in some regions, contributing to air pollution”.

Family doctors and specialists in pulmonology, immunology and allergy “play a crucial role in making patients and their families aware – adds Viegi – to protect them from the effects of air pollution and recommend a sustainable lifestyle”. According to experts, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of respiratory health and raised public awareness about the role of the pulmonologist and the treatment of respiratory diseases. “The positive lesson that we can draw from the pandemic concerns the home monitoring of many patients – underlines Claudio Micheletto, director of UOC Pneumology Aou Verona and president-elect of Aipo-Its – in particular for the most serious ones who need oxygen therapy or ventilation non-invasive mechanics. Telemedicine has proven to be fundamental and can allow for careful monitoring of patients’ conditions while avoiding unnecessary access to hospital facilities”.

Furthermore, as “specialists” we are “building a new relationship with the local area, given that the legislation establishing the Health Homes provides that in the hub centers (every 50,000 inhabitants) there should be a spirometer among the technological equipment and possible consultancy by the pulmonary specialist. This would allow, in particular for less complex cases, territorial management with adequate tools. If we think that only chronic obstructive diseases affect more than 10% of the population and then neoplasms, interstitial diseases and infectious diseases are added to these, we understand how important integrated territorial management with specialist centers is”, he concludes.

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