Critical Emergency Medicine (CREM)

Lorenz Theiler, Prof. Dr. med., CAS
Group leader and Senior Physician


Medical care in emergencies covers a wide spectrum, from a mild infection to sepsis, from minor injuries to severe trauma, from circulatory problems to cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The critically unwell are a small but distinct group amongst all emergency patients; they require immediate critical care intervention to avoid death or disability. In 2016 the Board of the European Society of Anaesthesiology agreed to adopt the term Critical Emergency Medicine (CREM) to define acute management of life-threatening emergencies.

The Department of Anaesthesiology’s Critical Emergency Medicine research group conducts research on a broad range of topics that are important for both prehospital and in-hospital acute anaesthesia care. Experienced residents from our department help staff Bern’s ground-based ambulance service (Sanitätspolizei Bern). Likewise, Bern’s helicopter emergency service (HEMS)—Rega Bern-Belp—recruits its emergency physicians from our pool of specialist attending anaesthesiologists, who work part-time on the helicopter.

The combination of academic medicine and prehospital work nourishes the constant flow of projects studied by the Critical Emergency Medicine research group. Since 2015, an annual grant from Swiss Air Rescue Rega provides important financial support needed for this research. The CREM group’s ultimate aim is to improve the critical emergency medicine care provided by highly specialised physicians to patients in life-threatening situations or with life-threatening conditions.

Specific research topics
The research group studies various aspects of advanced airway management in the emergency setting, including videolaryngoscopy. It has also evaluated airway management for isolated patients, devices for mechanical chest compressions, simulation in emergency anaesthesia, and rescue and transfer of victims. Another focus of our research is measurement of objective stress parameters—including heart rate variability—of emergency personnel during helicopter missions. The research group works together with other departments at the Bern University Hospital (Inselspital), with the Swiss Air Rescue foundation, and with the Technical University of Dresden, Germany and Prof. K. Petrowski of the University of Witten/Herdecke in Witten, Germany, for all stress-related studies.

Research group members

Robert (Tino) Greif, Prof. Dr. med., MME, FERC

Sabine Nabecker, Dr. med.


  • Swiss Air Rescue Rega, Zürich-Kloten Roland Albrecht
  • Witten/Herdecke University (UW/H), Witten, Germany – Katja Petrowski
  • University of Dresden, Dresden, Germany – Clemens Kirschbaum
  • Department of Infectious Diseases, Inselspital Bern – Jonas Marschall
  • Emergency Department, Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland – Alexandre Kottmann
  • Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Guys and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK – Maren Kleine-Brüggeney