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Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a single ventricle defect. While staged surgical palliative treatments have revolutionised care, patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome continue to have significant morbidity and mortality. In 2017, the National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative recommended all single ventricle patients to receive a prenatal palliative care consult. This study aimed to elucidate provider perspectives on the implementation of prenatal palliative care consults for families expecting a child with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
An online survey was administered to obstetric and paediatric providers of relevant disciplines to assess their experience with palliative care involvement in hypoplastic left heart syndrome cases.
Nearly, all physicians (97%) and most registered nurses (79%) agreed that the initial palliative care consult for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome should occur during the prenatal period. Respondents also indicated that prenatal palliative care consults should also be offered in a variety of other CHD conditions. Participants believed positive aspects of this new referral protocol included an expanded support network for families, decreased family stress during the postnatal period, increased patient education about what to expect during the postnatal period, and continuity of care.
Multidisciplinary healthcare professionals believe that prenatal palliative care consults provide a variety of benefits for patients and families with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Additional, multi-centre research is necessary to evaluate whether prenatal palliative care consults should become standard of care for families expecting a child with a single ventricle defect.
New paediatric cardiology trainees are required to rapidly assimilate knowledge and gain clinical skills to which they have limited or no exposure during residency. The Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Boot Camp (PCBC) at Boston Children’s Hospital was designed to provide incoming fellows with an intensive exposure to congenital cardiac pathology and a broad overview of major areas of paediatric cardiology practice.
The PCBC curriculum was designed by core faculty in cardiac pathology, echocardiography, electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, exercise physiology, and cardiac intensive care. Individual faculty contributed learning objectives, which were refined by fellowship directors and used to build a programme of didactics, hands-on/simulation-based activities, and self-guided learning opportunities.
A total of 16 incoming fellows participated in the 4-week boot camp, with no concurrent clinical responsibilities, over 2 years. On the basis of pre- and post-PCBC surveys, 80% of trainees strongly agreed that they felt more prepared for clinical responsibilities, and a similar percentage felt that PCBC should be offered to future incoming fellows. Fellows showed significant increase in their confidence in all specific knowledge and skills related to the learning objectives. Fellows rated hands-on learning experiences and simulation-based exercises most highly.
We describe a novel 4-week-long boot camp designed to expose incoming paediatric cardiology fellows to the broad spectrum of knowledge and skills required for the practice of paediatric cardiology. The experience increased trainee confidence and sense of preparedness to begin fellowship-related responsibilities. Given that highly interactive activities were rated most highly, boot camps in paediatric cardiology should strongly emphasise these elements.
In 2003, work-hour regulations were implemented by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Much has been published regarding resident rest and quality of life as well as patient safety. There has been no examination on the effect of work-hour restrictions on academic productivity of fellows in training. Paediatric subspecialty fellows have a scholarly requirement mandated by the American Board of Pediatrics. We have examined the impact of work-hour restrictions on the scholarly productivity of paediatric cardiology fellows during their fellowship.
We conducted a literature search for all paediatric cardiology fellows between 1998 and 2007 at a single academic institution as first or senior authors on papers published during their 3-year fellowship and 3 years after completion of their categorical fellowship (n=63, 30 fellows before 2003 and 33 fellows after 2003). The numbers of first- or senior-author fellow publications before and after 2003 were compared. We also collected data on final paediatric cardiology subspecialty career choice.
There was no difference in the number of fellow first-author publications before and after 2003. Before work-hour restrictions, the mean number of publications per fellow was 2.1 (±2.2), and after work-hour restrictions it was 2.0 (±1.8), (p=0.89). By subspecialty career choice, fellows who select electrophysiology, preventative cardiology, and heart failure always published within the 6-year time period.
Since the implementation of work-hour regulations, total number of fellow first-authored publications has not changed. The role of subspecialty choice may play a role in academic productivity of fellows in training.
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