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The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery (WCPCCS) will be held in Washington DC, USA, from Saturday, 26 August, 2023 to Friday, 1 September, 2023, inclusive. The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery will be the largest and most comprehensive scientific meeting dedicated to paediatric and congenital cardiac care ever held. At the time of the writing of this manuscript, The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery has 5,037 registered attendees (and rising) from 117 countries, a truly diverse and international faculty of over 925 individuals from 89 countries, over 2,000 individual abstracts and poster presenters from 101 countries, and a Best Abstract Competition featuring 153 oral abstracts from 34 countries. For information about the Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, please visit the following website: [www.WCPCCS2023.org]. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the activities related to global health and advocacy that will occur at the Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery.
Acknowledging the need for urgent change, we wanted to take the opportunity to bring a common voice to the global community and issue the Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action on Addressing the Global Burden of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Diseases. A copy of this Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action is provided in the Appendix of this manuscript. This Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action is an initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the global burden, promoting the development of sustainable care systems, and improving access to high quality and equitable healthcare for children with heart disease as well as adults with congenital heart disease worldwide.
Conquering CHD, formerly known as the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association (PCHA), is the leading congenital heart disease (CHD) patient advocacy organisation in the United States of America, and places high priority on patient engagement in the research process. Participatory design is an approach to problem-solving that utilises the knowledge and opinions of groups of people to generate plans and new ideas. Utilising this mode of patient engagement, patients and families engaged with Conquering CHD assisted in developing a list of research priorities which was then distributed to the larger membership with instructions to rank the priorities in order of importance. Upon completion, these items were compared to the current scientific literature to assess correlation with current publications. This cross-sectional study and literature review aimed to assess the priorities of patients and families in CHD research and to determine the reflection of these areas in the current body of scientific literature.
This cross-sectional study utilised a survey asking participants to rank the importance of research items within categories including “Technology Advances,” “Genetic and Cellular Research,” “Broad Understanding of CHD,” and “Psychosocial Outcomes” which was distributed through social media and email to 43,168 accounts across all platforms. Respondents were asked to place each item in a ranked order in each category, with the value “1” representing the most preferred for each participant. Anyone engaged with Conquering CHD was eligible to complete the study, including patients and families. Subsequently, a literature review of the largest medical databases including PubMed, Scopus, and ScienceDirect was undertaken to determine the number of articles published per each topic which was then assessed to determine if there is a correlation between patient-ranked priorities and the current body of literature.
The study generated a total response of 527 participants. Regarding “Technology Advances,” valve replacement was the preferred topic (mean rank 2.07, IQR 2). Stem cell research was the favoured topic in “Genetic and Cellular Research” (mean rank 2.53, IQR 2). Access to care was the priority in the “Broadening Understanding of CHD” (mean rank 1.24, IQR 1). Pertaining to “Psychosocial Outcomes”, psychological/emotional effects was the highest ranked topic (mean rank 1.46, IQR 1). The literature review returned a total of 135,672 articles in the areas of interest. For “Valve Replacement”, 8361 articles resulted reflecting a proportion of 0.097 of total articles. For “Stem Cell Research”, 9921 articles resulted reflecting a proportion of 0.115 of total articles. For “Access to Care”, 7845 articles resulted reflecting a proportion of 0.091 of total articles. For “Psychological/Emotional Effects”, 6422 articles resulted reflecting a proportion of 0.074 of total articles. A Spearman’s correlation demonstrated no correlation between the preferred domain of CHD research and the number of articles published for that domain (rs = 0.02, p = 0.94).
This process demonstrates the effectiveness of participatory design, using a patient and family network to determine the research items of concern to those affected by CHD. The cross-sectional survey was effective in assessing patient and family priorities but was limited by access to reliable internet and delivery only in English. Though the study had a large response rate, it was limited to patients already engaged with Conquering CHD. For these reasons, it may not completely reflect the opinions of the total population affected by CHD. However, this offers valuable insight into patient-determined priorities and reveals that the current scientific literature does not correlate with these items. These data serve to inform individual and institutional research agendas to better reflect the needs and desires of this population.
The Neurodevelopmental and Psychological Outcomes Working Group of the Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative was formed in 2018 through support from an R13 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute with the goals of identifying knowledge gaps regarding the neurodevelopmental and psychological outcomes of individuals with CHD and investigations needed to advance science, policy, clinical care, and patient/family outcomes. Accurate characterisation of neurodevelopmental and psychological outcomes in children with CHD will drive improvements in patient and family outcomes through targeted intervention. Decades of research have produced a generalised perspective about neurodevelopmental and psychological outcomes in this heterogeneous population. Future investigations need to shift towards improving methods, measurement, and analyses of outcomes to better inform early identification, prevention, and intervention. Improved definition of underlying developmental, neuropsychological, and social-emotional constructs is needed, with an emphasis on symptom networks and dimensions. Identification of clinically meaningful outcomes that are most important to key stakeholders, including patients, families, schools and providers, is essential, specifically how and which neurodevelopmental differences across the developmental trajectory impact stakeholders. A better understanding of the discontinuity and patterns of neurodevelopment across the lifespan is critical as well, with some areas being more impactful at some ages than others. Finally, the field needs to account for the impact of race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, cultural and linguistic diversity on our measurement, interpretation of data, and approach to intervention and how to improve generalisability to the larger worldwide population of patients and families living with CHD.
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