Introduction – a nice small, smart brick
The current pandemic caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the syndrome known as COVID-19, has raised major issues both in clinical evaluation and in management of a large number of patients. Multiple clinical needs arose in a very short period, and affected many human beings who rapidly developed critical conditions, with very serious consequences on socio-health and with important economic implications.
Two years ago, at the beginning of May 2020, when our proposal for the Official Report of the Italian Society of Otolaryngology (Società Italiana di Otorinolaringoiatria e Chirurgia Cervico Facciale - SIOeChCF) was finally approved, we were facing tough times. Media reports were very pessimistic and, as surgeons, we were requested to reduce our activity; moreover, our National 2020 Congress could not take place because of restrictions, and the following 2021 Congress was presented only online.
On the other hand, we felt grateful to the National Board for having placed their trust in us, and quite optimistic as we watched the improvement of the COVID-19 pandemic. We previously had two separate proposals about the topic of the pandemic, and decided to join them into one, merging the vision of younger otolaryngologists with that of more experienced ones, coming from two opposite geographical areas, who were facing pandemic-related issues in different ways.
What we did not really expect was that, at the very end, we would still have been working in the pandemic age even in the period immediately preceding the 2022 Congress.
The topic is therefore certainly contemporary; it is receiving numerous important individual scientific contributions at the national and international level. We tried to bring back the major evidence regarding specialized management of epidemic respiratory infectious diseases to the otolaryngology field. We believe that the role of the otolaryngologist, whom we consider the most entitled specialist to act as a “sentinel” of pathologies of the upper airways, has not yet gained the importance it deserves. Thus, the discussion of this topic, in the context of the Official SIOeChCF Report, also has to be seen as a summary of the evidence in Otolaryngology. The clinical and treatment implications of otolaryngologic competence, management strategies of otolaryngologic pathologies during epidemic events of this type, and possible future scenarios of reorganization of Italian healthcare are presented. This monographic issue is also being proposed as a historical memory of documentation, experience, and guidelines on the COVID-19 pandemic in the current period by the SIOeChCF.
We hope that with this contribution we can highlight the peculiarities of the otolaryngologist in the field of medicine and society as well as the strong interest in otolaryngology for the needs of healthcare personnel and patients and consolidate the spirit of collaboration with other scientific societies that has always distinguished us.
In these dramatic last two years, we have seen and recognized the large amount of clinical and scientific effort made by other national groups, but given the limited space in this issue, we could collaborate with only a few, with the awareness that every contribution during the pandemic was invaluable to improve our knowledge of this pathology.
At the end, we are very grateful to all the colleagues who contributed to this work; we hope to have added a nice small and smart brick in the clinical and scientifically relevance of our specialty that can be used by the next generations to manage other, but undesirable, periods like this, in a more pragmatic way.
Cesare Miani, Paolo Petrone
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© Società Italiana di Otorinolaringoiatria e chirurgia cervico facciale , 2022
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