The Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease track at the 2015 ASE Scientific Sessions in Boston, MA highlighted the depth of scientific investigation and the commitment to education that is characteristic of the field of pediatric/congenital heart disease imaging. Four important themes emerged as the sessions progressed: 1) the application and validation of cutting edge technologies for the diagnosis and management of congenital heart disease; 2) learning from anecdotal cases that make congenital heart disease so complex; 3) the dedication to mentorship, education, and involvement of trainees and junior faculty within the ASE; and 4) the honoring of our senior mentors and securing their continued involvement in our future.
Each day started with case presentations, which included the use of strain in left, right and single ventricular heart disease, how 3D Echo can impact patient management, comparison of cases of valve regurgitation to current adult guidelines, and the most interesting three cases (out of 40 submitted for presentation). The Saturday pathology/echo/surgery correlation sessions reviewed D-transposition of the great arteries and mitral valve disorders, with outstanding contributions from the two invited surgeons—Dr. Charles Fraser of Texas Children’s Hospital and Dr. Pedro Del Nido of Boston Children’s Hospital. Indicative of the broad perspective of congenital heart imaging were sessions on ischemia and infarct, stress imaging, aortopathy, and myocardial mechanics.
Consistently popular sessions included Echo Jeopardy, which saw teams from different regions of the country face off against a European contingent, and controversies in pediatric/congenital heart disease. These debates ranged from the practical (focused echo vs. complete echo) to the esoteric (left atrioventricular valve vs. a mitral valve in repaired AV canal defect) to the critically important (is a single or biventricular repair better in a borderline small left ventricle patient). A joint ASE/European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging session focused on emerging technologies in imaging congenital heart disease, while the ACHD symposium on tetralogy of Fallot drew a packed room of both pediatric and adult cardiologists and sonographers. Memorable recognitions were extended to Dr. Hugh Allen of Texas Children’s Hospital for the ASE Founders Award, to Dr. Steve Sanders who gave a delightful recollection of his career in the Fireside Chat, and an honorary FASE awarded to Dr. Roberto Canessa, a survivor of an extraordinary experience, for his lifelong effort in providing pediatric cardiology care in Uruguay. His keynote address on “The Triumph of Human Spirit over Adversity. Resilience” was a spectacular experience for all who attended.
A record number of abstracts were submitted to the Pediatric Track (a 45% increase from the previous year) and highlighted the work of trainees, junior, and senior investigators from national and international centers. Particularly outstanding work presented included comparing pulmonary artery acceleration time to simultaneous catheter pulmonary hemodynamics, comparing non-invasive measurement of end systolic elastance to simultaneous catheter measurements, and the prevalence and associations of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction in pulmonary hypertension. As an appropriate end to the sessions, the final two abstracts epitomized the exciting prospects of science in our field, investigating potential fetal causes of cerebral dysmaturation associated with congenital heart disease and the potential beneficial effects of increased maternal oxygenation on fetal left heart growth.
As the program chair and program co-chair for the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease tract at this year’s Scientific Sessions, we hope that everyone left with broadened knowledge, information to bring home to their echo labs, and new areas to investigate. We look forward to the 2016 meeting in Seattle, WA!
Carolyn A. Altman, MD, FASE, FAHA is Associate Director of the Pediatric and Fetal Echo Labs and Medical Director of Cardiology Main Campus at Texas Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.
Piers Barker, MD, FASE, FAAP is Section Head of Pediatric Cardiac Imaging and Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology at Duke University Medical Center.