About Adriatic Liver Forum

Adriatic Liver Forum (ALF) is a platform for professional, scientific and educational collaboration of hepatologists and related health-care professionals from the countries of the Central-South-Eastern (CSE) European region recumbent to the Adriatic sea, as this area has a long-standing common cultural and historical inheritage and interrelationships. This framework is aiming at the sustainable promotion and improvement in research and care for liver diseases in this part of Europe.

Initially named Seminaria hepatologica, this platform was founded by the group of hepatologists from Croatia and launched in 2014 in Zagreb, Croatia at University Hospital Dubrava. ALF has sustained until now in form of the annual monothematic conferences with the national and regional geographic character. This platform has been very well accepted by the wider hepatological community of the SCE Europe who have taken active role in all the activities of the ALF from its inception. This network has not been established previously and it has been great break-through to see specialists from different countries working together in the spirit for peace and international collaboration. It should be underlined that in Croatia and neighboring countries no dedicated organization, sustained educational or scientific hepatological events have been established previously, and these activities took place only as the part of general gastroenterology meetings.

Apart from focusing on the specific liver diseases, hands on training in liver ultrasound and at least one dedicated talk on liver ultrasound for the specific liver condition took place at each ALF meeting. This is important since there has been growing belief that hepatologist should be competent in practicing ultrasound especially as the novel methods have been introduced such as elastography and contrast-enhanced ultrasound, all of which represent unavoidable diagnostic tools in hepatology today.

All previous ALF meetings have been organized by Croatian Society of Gastroenterology and University Hospital Dubrava, University of Zagreb School of Medicine. The first meeting in 2014 was dedicated to the interdisciplinary approach to the liver tumours. The second meeting in 2016 was dedicated to the disorders of hepato-portal circulation, specifically portal hypertension and vascular liver diseases, and the third meeting in 2017 was focused on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Each year ALF gathers over 150 participants. From the very first meeting the importance of this activity has been recognized by relevant national and international organizations including World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO), European Federation of societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB), Croatian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology and Croatian Society for Hepato-biliary Surgery. The last 2 meetings have been endorsed by European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). The support of EASL as the largest European hepatological organization was essential for ALF to succeed and to continue with its activity as the EASL endorsement added to visibility and scientific merit to this conference. EASL endorsement and active support by its scientific leaders who have been taking part as the speakers at ALF were guarantors of scientific excellence which in turn attracted hepatologists and related health-care professionals from different countries to take part in this scientific and educational activity.

Among many Institutions and individuals who supported ALF very special place belongs to Royal Free Hospital and Professor Massimo Pinzani, Sheila Sherlock Chair of Hepatology, Director of the University College London Institute for Liver and Digestive Health and the member and Educational Councillor of the EASL Governing Board who supported this activity from its very beginning. The leading minds of contemporary hepatology took their place at ALF including Prof. Jaume Bosch, Prof. Annalisa Berzigotti, Prof. Ioan Sporea, Dr. Emmanuoil Tsochatzis, Dr. James O'Beirne just to mention the most prominent names. Special thanks should be addressed to the sponsors because their understanding and support assured for the success of such a logistically challenging enterprise.

Adriatic Liver Forum now days is a platform for gathering hepatologists from the CSE European region, supported by the leading hepatologists from across the Europe, where they exchange their experience, scientific achievements, discuss the cutting-edge topics in hepatology, collaborate in the multicentric projects with the final aim at improving and harmonizing hepatology science and practice across all countries participating in this activity. Working on quality and standardization of procedures, harmonization of education and equality in the approach to the good quality liver service for patients are most important goals of this activity in line with the strategic plans of EASL and UEG.

President of the Adriatic Liver Forum

Ivica Grgurevic, MD PhD, Assoc. Prof