ECCO Country Member Profiles: Slovenia

David Drobne and Gregor Novak, ECCO National Representatives, Slovenia



Name of group: There is no separate group for IBD. The disease is covered under the national organisation named the Slovenian Association for Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Number of active members: 75
Number of meetings per year:
President: Stojan Potrč
National Representatives: David Drobne and Gregor Novak
Joined ECCO in: 2008
Incidence of IBD in the country (if available): UC 6.8/100,000, CD 5.7/100,000, total incidence including UBDU 13.7/100,000 

What has changed since your society became an ECCO Country Member?

Since Slovenia joined ECCO the awareness of IBD in general has increased. Knowledge on the management of IBD is improving among physicians treating our patients and today more IBD patients get appropriate drugs at the most appropriate time. In addition, there is an increasing number of nurses specialised in the management of IBD patients. Since Slovenia joined ECCO we have also noticed more international cooperation on IBD research projects.   

What are the benefits to you of being an ECCO Country Member?

It offers us the possibility to share experiences and to learn from each other at meetings such as ECCO Congresses and ECCO Workshops. In addition, there is a chance for young colleagues to gain knowledge by attending the ECCO IBD Intensive Advanced Course, which is quite popular.

Is your society making use of the ECCO Guidelines?

Most definitely: ECCO Guidelines are central to our practice. 

Have you developed links with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership? 

·       Have you developed research projects with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership? There is an increasing number of international research projects. Most of them are, however, not associated with ECCO itself.

·       Have you developed educational activities with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?


·       Has your country been involved in a fellow exchange through ECCO?


What are your main areas of research interest?

Pharmacokinetics and therapeutic drug monitoring of thiopurines, TNF inhibitors, vedolizumab and ustekinumab, mesenchymal stem cells for CD, histological remission as a possible treatment target, definition of biopsy location in IBD, biomarkers of IBD in serum and faeces, and fibrosis.

Does your centre or country have a common IBD database or bio bank?

Unfortunately, up to now an IBD database or bio bank does not exist. However, we have big collections of samples from different projects.

What are your most prestigious/interesting past and ongoing projects?

Efficacy and safety of high infliximab trough levels, predictive value of vedolizumab trough levels, biopsy location for histological evaluation and mRNA expression, and skin manifestations in correlation with trough levels of TNF inhibitors. 

Which ECCO Projects/Activities is the group currently involved in?

Follow-up of children exposed to biologics in utero. 

What are your aims for the future?

To fully implement ECCO Guidelines in the clinical practice of all physicians treating IBD patients, to develop a national registry and a bio bank of IBD patients, and to participate in more clinical trails of new agents.

How do you see ECCO helping you to fulfil these aims?

ECCO provides the ideal platform for facilitating collaboration and sharing of experiences with IBD experts from other countries.

What do you use ECCO for? Network? Congress? How do you use the things/services that ECCO has to offer?

We use ECCO for congresses, IBD courses and networking. ECCO Guidelines are central to our everyday clinical practice. 

IBD SLO 002Slovenien group photo 
Carmen Bobnar Sekulic

Posted in ECCO News, ECCO Country Member Profiles, Volume 13, Issue 4