Welcome to the Summer Blue Pages for the ASE Council on Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease Steering Committee. We are looking forward to the upcoming ASE Scientific Sessions in Baltimore, Maryland from June 2–6. The Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (PCHD) track of the program will be outstanding, and I hope many of you will be able to attend.
At the Council Business meeting on Saturday, June 3, we will introduce this year’s Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease Founder’s Award winner, Dr. Jean-Claude Fouron. Dr. Fouron has had an outstanding career in pediatric and fetal echocardiography culminating in over 200 peer-reviewed publications and over 40 grants over his career. He has been a pioneer in the assessment of fetal hemodynamics and physiology. Several areas of achievement particularly stand out. He developed Doppler techniques using time intervals to distinguish mechanisms of fetal supraventricular tachycardia. He was the first to report the use of sotalol in the treatment of fetal supraventricular tachycardia and the use of dexamethasone in the treatment of fetal complete heart block. Both medications are now used routinely in fetal arrhythmia therapy. In addition, he was one of the first to report on the hemodynamic effects and echocardiographic findings of intrauterine growth retardation. He reported reference values for umbilical artery Doppler flow and was the first to report that reversal of flow in the umbilical artery heralds placental insufficiency and is an early sign of fetal demise. This finding is currently used in day-to-day practice all over the world. He has also reported on flow dynamics in the aortic isthmus and its effects on cerebral blood flow in the fetus. These observations are now considered “routine knowledge” but came from Dr. Fouron’s remarkable work. We are also very excited to have the opportunity to honor him Saturday evening at the ASE Foundation Gala.
In other news, the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease Steering Committee recently came out with a statement that says that we do not support the development of a pediatric echocardiography certification examination. This consensus primarily came from the ASE survey information that many of you filled out, and so your voices have been heard! This statement was then moved through the ASE Executive Committee with the conclusion that the organization will agree to endorse this stance and will relay this decision to outside bodies as needed.
At the recent retreat of the ASE Board of Directors, one of the main topics of discussion was about how to recruit and retain young members to our society. In addition to cardiology fellows, the ASE would like to welcome medical students and residents to join and get involved in ASE activities. Much of this interest stems from the use of echocardiography and ultrasound in medical school curricula and in non-cardiology residencies and sub-specialties. Many of you are aware that Point-of-Care Ultrasound is growing and here to stay (the discussion of a previous Blue page). In pediatrics, these users tend to be in fields such as Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine. There were discussions at the retreat about reaching these users through social media and other avenues.
The ASE Board of Directors has put together a Governance Task Force that has been meeting over the past two years to reorganize leadership at ASE. Recently, we have tackled the issue of leadership in Council Steering Committees. As you are aware, there are presently four steering committees, and all have chosen their leadership in different ways over the years. The Task Force has worked to restructure leadership so that it is similar for all councils. Over the course of two years, the PCHD Council Steering Committee will transition to this leadership format. Steering Committee leadership will include the Chair, Chair-Elect and Past Chair, the Council Representative from the ASE Executive Committee, the Scientific Sessions Track Chair and Co-Chair, the PCHD representatives from the Guidelines and Standards Committee and the Education Committee, and three members-at-large. All will serve a two-year term. This will hopefully make the Steering Committee more nimble and give opportunities to people who want to serve.
I would like to mention a few other items. We will be having a Pediatric Technology Forum at the Scientific Sessions in June to discuss technology and innovation with vendors that are pertinent to the pediatric and congenital heart disease population. We will give you a summary of that meeting in the next Blue Pages.
Finally, this will be my last Blue Pages as Chair. I am very excited to “hand the reins” to Dr. Gregory Ensing, FASE who has been an incredibly helpful Chair-Elect for these past two years. I look forward to working with him as Past Chair. I want to thank all of the members of the PCHD Council for allowing me the opportunity to serve. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with ideas you might have to enhance your experience as a member of the Council on Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease.
Meryl S. Cohen, MD, FASE, FACC, FAHA is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine and Program Director for the Cardiology Fellowship Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She is Chair of the Council on Pediatrics and Congenital Heart Disease Steering Committee.