Sunday, 23 February 2020

Prof. Dragan Primorac Re-Elected as Chair of AAFS Committee

February 23, 2020 - Professor Dragan Primorac was re-elected as the Chair of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences International Affairs Committee at the 2020 AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting held in Anaheim, California this week.

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences, headquartered in Colorado Springs, has over 7000 members from all 50 states from the US, Canada and 74 participating countries of the world. Forensic experts from the United States armed forces, law enforcement agencies, the Department of Justice, State Attorneys' offices, the FBI, DEA, as well as judges, lawyers, professors and scientists from the leading US institutions and universities are among the members of the Academy.

During this meeting, Jeri Ropero-Miller, PhD, chief scientist and forensic toxicologist at RTI International, has been elected as the 2020 president of the Academy.

During the meeting, it was confirmed that one of the largest scientific meetings in the world, the 12th ISABS Conference on Forensic and Anthropologic Genetics and Mayo Clinic Lectures in Individualized Medicine will be held in Dubrovnik between the 21st and 26th of June 2021. The organisers of the meeting will be the International Society for Applied Biological Sciences (ISABS), renowned American hospital "Mayo Clinic", American Academy of Forensic Sciences and prof. Primorac's St. Catherine Specialty Hospital.

Ever since it was established in 1997, the ISABS (International Society for Applied Biological Sciences) has been working on the promotion of the newest scientific discoveries in the fields of the forensic and anthropological genetics. Several of the Society's meetings have already been held in Croatia, and over 6000 scientists participated, with over 650 of them giving lectures, from over 70 countries in the world. Seven Nobel Prize winners were among the speakers at those conferences.

Friday, 28 December 2018

St. Catherine Hospital to Launch Genetic Screening of Footballers

The St. Catherine Hospital, the official hospital of the Croatian national football team, and the Croatian Football Federation have begun, for the first time in Europe, a project of systematic screening of risk groups of football players to determine frequency of the most common genetic mutations that can lead to sudden cardiac death of athletes, announced the Croatian Football Federation on December 28, 2018.

The sudden cardiac death is a tragic event which occasionally happens at sports venue which opens up a series of questions among both the general public and professionals, such as "How can this happen to seemingly healthy and successful athletes" and "How to prevent such sudden events?"

The fact is that extremely intense physical activity can temporarily increase the risk of sudden cardiac death in predisposed athletes. Medical literature suggests that due to increased physical activity, athletes have a 2.8 times higher risk of sudden cardiac death compared to the general population which does not take part in sports activities. Particularly significant is the fact that genetically-based illnesses can cause such a dramatic event. Because of this, the medical professionals, in addition to introducing thorough clinical exams of athletes, have recently started recommending the introduction of targeted genetic testing, primarily because they can point to an existing genetic predisposition on time.

With the Cardio Screen "multi-gene panel testing" during the pilot project, 77 genes and related mutations that can lead to sudden cardiac death of athletes will be analysed simultaneously. These conditions include, among others, various disorders of the heart's electrical activity, including inherited disorders of the ionic heart canals (e.g., prolonged QT interval syndrome) or, on the other hand, structural changes in the heart, such as cardiomyopathy (most often hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), as well as many other conditions. When it comes to cardiomyopathies, sudden cardiac death unfortunately often occurs before any previous symptoms appear, so any diagnostic data that can reduce the frequency of such incidents is highly important.

The Croatian Society for Sports Medicine of the Croatian Medical Association, in connection with the systematic exams of athletes and in line with the views of the American Heart Association, the European Society of Cardiology and the International Olympic Committee, has issued guidelines for the scope of athletes’ examinations and have emphasised that "it is of particular concern that most athletes with undetected cardiac issues have no symptoms, and the only way to prevent sudden cardiac death is primary prevention involving an electrocardiogram. If there is any suspicion about heart disease, further examinations should be performed, including heart ultrasound, ergometry, 24h Holter monitoring, heart MRI etc.” It goes on to say that “today, genetic testing of deceased athletes is becoming more common so that we can get more information about these disorders in order to prevent sudden deaths in the future better.”

The goal of the St. Catherine Hospital and the Croatian Football Federation’s project is to use the genetic screening of athletes belonging to risk groups (athletes with a concerning personal or family medical history, athletes with specific findings after a clinical examination, athletes with previous episodes of weakness or excessive fatigue, athletes with unexplained loss of consciousness and chest pains, etc.) to find athletes with specific genotypes that contain typical mutations responsible for the emergence of these unexpected and tragic events. On the other hand, according to the guidelines of the Croatian Society of Human Genetics of the Croatian Medical Association, all persons who have been determined to be persons with higher risk will be provided with information as part of their genetic counselling process, in identifying the risk and after further examinations. This will provide the basis for optimal treatment and, if necessary, exclusion from the sports of under risk athletes all with the aim of reducing the incidence of sudden cardiac deaths.


“It is my pleasure to cooperate with our official hospital, the St. Catherine Hospital, the European centre of excellence, and to carry out for the first time in Europe a systematic genetic screening of football players. With this, we demonstrate that we can be leaders in a number of processes, like introducing new diagnostic tests, all with the aim of providing our athletes with the best possible health care,” said Davor Šuker, the president of the Croatian Football Federation.

“The sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in athletes, and every new diagnostic step is significant in preventing such unexpected and tragic events that leave a deep mark in every society. A large number of cardiovascular diseases that can lead to sudden cardiac death, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or various heart electrical activity disorders, have a genetic basis. This naturally suggests the need for timely genetic screenings, especially with risky groups of athletes, which will lead, together with standard clinical treatments according to the guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology, to optimisation of treatment and providing recommendations related to further sports activities,” said Dragan Primorac, the president of the St. Catherine Hospital’s management council.

More news about the St. Catherine Hospital can be found in our Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Mirko Filipović had Surgery at St. Catharine's Special Hospital

Another injury for veteran Mirko Filipović, another surgery - he's been through all of this before and came out strong! Can he do it again, at age 43?

Sunday, 6 May 2018

4 Reasons the Diaspora Should Take a Closer Look at Croatian Health Tourism Potential

May 6, 2018 - The Croatian diaspora sends over 2 billion euro a year back to the homeland in remittances, providing a lifeline to many livelihoods in Croatia. Apart from that annual holiday on the beach, one area where diapora money can bring real value for diaspora spenders is in Croatia's nascent health tourism sector. A closer look.  

Thursday, 5 October 2017

St. Catherine Hospital in Croatia Awarded Prestigious Global Healthcare Accreditation

During the plenary session at 10th World Medical Tourism & Healthcare Congress in Los Angeles, St. Catherine Hospital in Croatia, along with Cleveland Clinic in the USA, was awarded one of the world’s most prestigious accreditation.


Monday, 31 August 2015

University of Split and ST Catherine's Hospital Sign a Cooperation Agreement

 Croatia's leading private hospital becomes a teaching base for Faculties of medicine and kinesiology