Welcome from the Program Chair

Scott G. Walker, MD
Program Chair

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome to the 11th Annual Meeting of the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society (CCAS)! This meeting has special significance as the 10th anniversary of the first annual meeting of the CCAS in 2007.  Our host city of Austin, Texas provides a vibrant backdrop for our meeting, and the recently opened JW Marriott is our luxurious home.  Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and is known as the Live Music Capital of the World, with more than 250 live music venues providing entertainment at nearly every corner.  We are sure to have “music in our hearts” as we explore congenital cardiac anesthesia together.

This year we will sustain the successful format of past programs, with an exciting new addition: morning PBLD sessions.  These small-group, interactive discussions will kick off the meeting and allow registrants a chance to gain first-hand insights from leaders in our field, with a variety of clinically relevant topics to choose from.  These will include point-of-care coagulation testing to manage transfusion therapy, the Norwood patient for non-cardiac surgery, anesthesia and William’s syndrome, adults with congenital heart disease, and managing risk in the cath lab. 

Once our brains are revved up from this early morning exercise, we will begin the General Meeting with our traditional Basic Science and Clinical Application session.  We will hear from a pair of ground-breaking researchers who are exploring congenital heart disease and its management from two contrasting perspectives: molecular genetics and biomechanics.  We will first learn how modern genetic technology can elucidate the mechanisms for congenital cardiac defects and be applied to prevention of disease and cardiac regeneration.  We will then discover an innovative proposed solution to the greatest challenge of Fontan physiology: the lack of a mechanical sub-pulmonic energy source.

Our next session is Practice Updates in Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia.  This will be led off with an important overview of the current state of advanced training in our specialty.  We will then hear about the transplanted heart and the special challenges it presents to the anesthesiologist.  This session concludes with a look at new and innovative interventional procedures in the cardiac cath lab and their anesthetic management.  The last session before lunch is the popular Focus on a Lesion.  At our most recent meeting we explored transposition of the great vessels; we follow this up with a look at congenitally corrected transposition and feature input from the perspective of both an anesthesiologist and a surgeon.

After lunch it is time to hear from our colleagues whose abstracts were judged among the best of those submitted.  This is a unique opportunity to become familiar with the investigations of our peers and trainees as we seek to improve care for patients with congenital heart disease.  This will be followed by our first-ever session on Thoracic Surgery in Congenital Heart Disease.  We will review the anatomy, physiology, and anesthetic implications of a variety of congenital heart lesions that present for thoracotomy surgery.  Of equal importance, we will get an overview of the options for managing the pain associated with this type of operation.

Our meeting then continues with concurrent sessions offering an assortment of options.  Participants can choose to either attend a new interactive “Ask the Experts” panel, or select from several workshops – an offering introduced last year. The Ask the Experts panel will allow a more intimate, interactive environment in which to exchange ideas and learn from leaders in our field.  This will include 5 panelists and a moderator, all recognized as experts among our peers.  The goal is to remain informal, without prepared lectures or slides.  The topics will be driven by YOU, and we want to know what YOU would like to hear about.  Look for opportunities to provide input into the topics covered in this session prior to the meeting.

The workshops were tremendously well received, and we are excited to present them again this year.  In addition to the four provided last year, we are expanding to a fifth workshop on transesophageal echocardiography (TEE).  The TEE workshop will provide an overview of the use of TEE as well as a close look at our “focus” lesion, congenitally corrected transposition of the great vessels.  This workshop will strengthen our diagnostic skills and prepare us to interact more fully with our cardiology and surgery colleagues.  The remaining four are “back by popular demand”.  The first is on cardiopulmonary bypass.  Led by perfusionists, this workshop will allow us to become more familiar with bypass equipment and techniques.  It is also an excellent opportunity to work together with our perfusion colleagues in a learning environment, something that our respective societies hope is an important part of our future.  We will have a similar opportunity once again with our workshop on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and ventricular assist devices.  The technology for these life-saving techniques is evolving rapidly, and it is important to remain current.  Participants will gain a better understanding of not only the devices themselves but also the indications for their use.  In the cardiac morphology and 3D modeling workshop, participants will gain insight into the anatomic details of normal and abnormal hearts.  Normal anatomy will be explored through dissection of pig hearts, while 3D printed heart models will be used to demonstrate abnormal anatomy.  Finally, an in-depth experience in the use and function of pacemakers will be made available once again in the pacemaker workshop.  Learners will explore and recognize the different pacing modes used during temporary pacing, and review the implications of permanent pacemakers in our surgical patients.  In addition to the information and experience gleaned from these workshops, participants can once again expect to enjoy the company of colleagues in a hands-on environment.  It is sure to be a lot of fun!  Space will be limited to optimize the experience for everyone, so be sure to register early.

After we divide up for the Ask the Experts Panel and the workshops, we will all gather together again for Professor Poster Rounds.  These poster-side sessions are another opportunity for informal interaction and discussion about a wide range of topics in our field, presented in 
the form of new research and discovery by our own colleagues.  There will be three groups, each led by an expert moderator, with five scientific abstracts per group.  This is not only a great way to learn, but also a perfect opportunity to make new friends, expand your network, and re-connect with old friends and colleagues.  It is said that we learn best in a social environment, and our small but inclusive society is the perfect forum for us to work together and advance our field.  In this spirit we will close out the day with a welcoming wine and cheese reception, where we can unwind and socialize in a beautiful setting.

This meeting is designed to provide a meaningful experience to providers of all levels, from new learners to experts.  We have sought to present a balanced mix of topics of scientific and clinical relevance that will enhance your knowledge base and skill set.  Anesthesiologists and other health care professionals are encouraged to attend, whether your practice is predominantly congenital heart disease or caring for children and adults with cardiac issues on a less frequent basis.

The creation of this program was a collaborative effort.  Our co-chairs Luis Zabala and Kirsten Odegard provided valuable guidance, ideas, and “legwork” to put everything together.  I also want to recognize our immediate past program chair Mark Twite, who generously shared his wisdom and experience, as well as his time and effort in guiding the program forward. Kim Battle, Stewart Hinckley, Matt Carpenter, Dana Gibson, and the staff of our management company, Ruggles Service Corporation, were instrumental as always in seeing to the details, keeping things on schedule, and providing administrative support.  Our CCAS president, Emad Mossad, lent his organizational skills, insight, and leadership to keep us on course.  Gratitude is also owed to many friends and colleagues in our society and on the CCAS Board of Directors for the numerous innovative ideas they contributed to the program.  Thank you all.

I am confident that our meeting amid the music will leave us tuned up and ready to improve care for our patients.  Enjoy!



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