CSA in Maui: Education in Paradise

  • Mason, Linda, MD
| Jan 26, 2015

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at the 2015 CSA Winter Anesthesia Conference, which was held Jan. 12–16, 2015, at the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Maui. I have attended and chaired many of our CSA anesthesia conferences in Hawaii; this conference was unlike my previous experiences and beyond my expectations of how great a meeting and a location can be!

CSA President Paul Yost, MD, was very active at the meeting, handing out registration packets and personally greeting attendees.

Under the direction of the program chair, Ronald Pearl, MD, PhD, an impressive list of speakers was assembled. The educational sessions began early, at 7 a.m., to allow time for the case-based discussions held each day, an innovation for a CSA Hawaii meeting. The addition of this feature allowed the attendees to accumulate 25 hours of total CME credit. In these discussions there was the opportunity for close interaction between the faculty and the participants at the meeting.

The first lecture, by James Hebl, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, covered clinical pathways for total joint arthroplasty and essential components for success. During the rest of the week, through his three other lectures and case-based discussion, Dr. Hebl updated us on ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia, low-dose ketamine and perioperative analgesia, and balancing the rewards and the neurologic risk associated with regional anesthesia.

Dr. Pearl, chair of the Stanford University Department of Anesthesiology, gave particularly innovative lectures on transfusion and blood component therapy, acute respiratory distress syndrome, advances in the management of cardiogenic and septic shock, and perioperative management of pulmonary hypertension. These lectures discussed changes in the management of ICU patients for certain disease states.


John Drummond, MD, from the University of California at San Diego and the San Diego VA Medical Center, who is always a favorite with CSA attendees, gave lectures about cerebral blood flow auto-regulation, depth of anesthesia monitoring and the incidence of mortality, statin physiology for patients and providers, and common misunderstandings and misadventures in neuroanesthesia. Dr. Drummond’s lectures, as always, were stimulating and thought provoking and made us ponder the care of our patients in the operating room.

We were fortunate to also have Warren Sandberg, MD, chair of the Vanderbilt University Department of Anesthesiology, talking about quality measures and what is important to measure, the quality improvement projects your hospital cares about, and the ones they should care about. Dr. Sandberg also discussed the changing scope of difficult airway management, and concluded with an insightful lecture on the future of anesthesia — something we all should be thinking about.

I was invited to present topics on pediatric anesthesia, including:

  • Challenges in pediatric ambulatory anesthesia
  • Common postoperative problems
  • Neurotoxicity, anesthesia and the developing brain
  • Is anesthesia safe for my baby?
  • Pitfalls and problems in pediatric anesthesia, and how to stay out of trouble.

The topics selected by Dr. Pearl and the lecturers complemented each other and I must say that I learned a lot from my fellow speakers and from the discussions that followed the lectures. The room was still full at noon each day, despite the lovely Hawaiian weather calling us outside, proof positive of the excellence of the program and speakers.

Another wonderful part of these meetings is the ability to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. It’s great to talk to people that you haven’t seen in years, connect with other anesthesiologists, and share ideas, all in a lovely location with the trade winds blowing.

CSA returning attendees from Canada.

Regarding other aspects of the meeting, I was very impressed by the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort. They welcomed us with leis — orchids for the ladies and kukui nut for the men — plus they immediately made us feel at home with their gracious hospitality. The service at this hotel is beyond compare. You feel like you are away from it all in a resort in Hawaii and that anything you need will be provided. As always the CSA provided a wonderful buffet breakfast filled with island fruits before the start of each day’s meeting, which allowed the attendees to start the day feeling totally in the Hawaiian style.

Maui is a true paradise for those who love outdoor activities. Whether it’s a Haleakala bike or land tour, driving the road to Hana, scuba diving or snorkeling off the shores of Wailea or Molokini, there are many things to do there. We were lucky that the humpback whales were visible off the coast, enthusiastically breaching. We could even see their new babies, born in the sea off the islands, being taught all the things that they need to learn to grow to adulthood. So if you visit Maui at this time of year you must add a whale watch to your planned events. I must also say that the beaches in the Wailea end of Maui are beautiful. The Big Beach is particularly nice, with easy access, and is a great place to spend the day.

​There were some new attractions this year on Maui. A lavender farm in upcountry Maui, nestled on the slopes of Haleakala, offers breathtaking views. They have walking and cart tours of their more than 45 different varieties of lavender, which bloom year round. In addition, there is the Surfing Goat Dairy where, yes, you can see goats surfing. Their cheeses are award winning, and tours are offered daily.

I couldn’t finish my tour of this island paradise without talking about dining. There are two wonderful restaurants at the Fairmont Kea Lani. Ko (which means sugar cane in Hawaiian) was named Maui restaurant of the year in 2013. It showcases the culinary history of the sugar cane plantation era, which includes Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese dishes. The second restaurant is Nick’s Fishmarket. It offers seafood and a wine cellar with over 2,000 bottles from Italy, France, and California. It is a lovely place to end your day whether it is a romantic celebration, a special occasion, or just enjoying a beautiful Hawaiian sunset. Another dining experience we particularly enjoyed was Café O’Lei in Kihei. It is Pacific Rim cuisine — steak, seafood and a sushi bar — in a casual atmosphere. Sansei, also in Kihei, features Japanese cuisine and creative sushi with an island flair. If you want to go farther afield, up to Lahaina, there is always Kimo’s, which has a beautiful view and fresh fish, prime rib, steaks, burgers all prepared Hawaiian style. And finally, there is Mama’s Fish House, a Maui mainstay on the north shore of the island, serving fresh seafood. The menu lists not only where the fish was caught but also which fisherman brought it in.

The CSA Winter Anesthesia Conference offers amazing, world-class anesthesia education for five hours each morning, and gives you ample time to enjoy all the islands have to offer, particularly to explore the beautiful island of Maui. Next year’s meeting will be held in Kaanapali, which is just as appealing and has many exciting things to do too. I would encourage you to attend a CSA Hawaii meeting in the future. You won’t regret it.


Check out our 2015 Winter Anesthesia Conference photos on Facebook!
Register for our upcoming Annual Anesthesia Meeting & Workshops in San Francisco, April 16-19, 2015!

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