International experts meet in Southend for three-day event to tackle debilitating conditions
10 March 2016
World-renowned surgeons and medical professionals have gathered in Southend to tackle some of the most debilitating health problems in the developed world.
Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA), a condition in which the arteries
become inflamed, causes problems ranging from headaches, joint pain
and fever to cardiovascular disease and even blindness. It almost
exclusively affects the over-50s and will be the main point of
discussion at the three-day Southend International Symposium, being
organised by Anglia Ruskin University in collaboration with
Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
According to the NHS, one in every 4,500 people in the UK
develop GCA every year and is three times as common in women than
it is in men.
Other conditions being discussed during the symposium are
Polymyalgia Rhumatica (PMR), which causes pain, stiffness and
inflammation in the muscles around the shoulders, neck and hips,
and Large Vessel Vasculitis (LVV), the inflammation of large blood
Medical experts from all over the globe will compare research,
clinical guidance and management of these conditions to try and
improve outcomes for patients. The meeting will hear about new
international treatment guidelines for PMR and the draft 2016
guidelines for GCA. It will also discuss the latest clinical trials
and the first international workshop for positron emission
topography (PET) scanning in Rheumatology.
The use of early ultrasound is transforming the diagnosis of GCA
in fast-track clinics set up to prevent sight loss, and the
symposium features an ultrasound workshop where patients suffering
from these conditions will be present to allow hands-on ultrasound
experience for delegates.
Selim Cellek, Professor of Health and Biomedicine at Anglia
Ruskin University, said: "Giant Cell Arteritis, Polymyalgia
Rheumatica and Large Vessel Vasculitis affect a large number of
people in developed countries such as the UK and lead to a range of
very serious health conditions.
"This symposium, which is only the third of its kind, is
bringing together key opinion leaders in these fields in order to
share expertise and work on a fast-track approach to improve
outcomes for patients in Essex and further afield. We are proud to
be hosting such an important event in Essex."
Professor Bhaskar Dasgupta, Head of Rheumatology and Clinical
Director of Research and Audit at Southend University Hospital
said: "2016 is a landmark year for these conditions. Southend has
received the 2016 Outstanding Practice award from the British
Society of Rheumatology (BSR) for developing the fast-track GCA
pathway, which has led to significant reduction of sight loss in
"New trials are coming to fruition that will deliver exciting
new therapies for these hitherto neglected diseases. The 2016
updated BSR guidelines for GCA will capture all this excitement and
will set out new standards of care.
"We are proud of the role the Southend International Symposia
have played over the years in lifting the profile of GCA, PMR and
The event runs from March 10-12 at the Holiday Inn, Southend
Airport. For further information, visit http://www.anglia.ac.uk/southendsymposium