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Limited data exist on how trainees in paediatric cardiology are assessed among countries affiliated with the Association of European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology.
A structured and approved questionnaire was circulated to educationalists/trainers in 95 Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology training centres.
Trainers from 46 centres responded with complete data in 41 centres. Instructional design included bedside teaching (41/41), didactic teaching (38/41), problem-based learning (28/41), cardiac catheterisation calculations (34/41), journal club (31/41), fellows presenting in the multidisciplinary meeting (41/41), fellows reporting on echocardiograms (34/41), clinical simulation (17/41), echocardiography simulation (10/41), and catheterisation simulation (3/41). Assessment included case-based discussion (n = 27), mini-clinical evaluation exercise (mini-CEX) (n = 12), directly observed procedures (n = 12), oral examination (n = 16), long cases (n = 11), written essay questions (n = 6), multiple choice questions (n = 5), and objective structured clinical examination (n = 2). Entrustable professional activities were utilised in 10 (24%) centres. Feedback was summative only in 17/41 (41%) centres, formative only in 12/41 (29%) centres and a combination of formative and summative feedback in 10/41 (24%) centres. Written feedback was provided in 10/41 (24%) centres. Verbal feedback was most common in 37/41 (90 %) centres.
There is a marked variation in instructional design and assessment across European paediatric cardiac centres. A wide mix of assessment tools are used. Feedback is provided by the majority of centres, mostly verbal summative feedback. Adopting a programmatic assessment focusing on competency/capability using multiple assessment tools with regular formative multisource feedback may promote assessment for learning of paediatric cardiology trainees.
Limited data exist on training of European paediatric and adult congenital cardiologists.
A structured and approved questionnaire was circulated to national delegates of Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology in 33 European countries.
Delegates from 30 countries (91%) responded. Paediatric cardiology was not recognised as a distinct speciality by the respective ministry of Health in seven countries (23%). Twenty countries (67%) have formally accredited paediatric cardiology training programmes, seven (23%) have substantial informal (not accredited or certified) training, and three (10%) have very limited or no programme. Twenty-two countries have a curriculum. Twelve countries have a national training director. There was one paediatric cardiology centre per 2.66 million population (range 0.87–9.64 million), one cardiac surgical centre per 4.73 million population (range 1.63–10.72 million), and one training centre per 4.29 million population (range 1.63–10.72 million population). The median number of paediatric cardiology fellows per training programme was 4 (range 1–17), and duration of training was 3 years (range 2–5 years). An exit examination in paediatric cardiology was conducted in 16 countries (53%) and certification provided by 20 countries (67%). Paediatric cardiologist number is affected by gross domestic product (R2 = 0.41).
Training varies markedly across European countries. Although formal fellowship programmes exist in many countries, several countries have informal training or no training. Only a minority of countries provide both exit examination and certification. Harmonisation of training and standardisation of exit examination and certification could reduce variation in training thereby promoting high-quality care by European congenital cardiologists.
Fontan palliation represents one of the most remarkable surgical advances in the management of individuals born with functionally univentricular physiology. The operation secures adult survival for all but a few with unfavourable anatomy and/or physiology. Inherent to the physiology is passive transpulmonary blood flow, which produces a vulnerability to adequate filling of the systemic ventricle at rest and during exertion. Similarly, the upstream effects of passive flow in the lungs are venous congestion and venous hypertension, especially marked during physical activity. The pulmonary vascular bed has emerged as a defining character on the stage of Fontan circulatory behaviour and clinical outcomes. Its pharmacologic regulation and anatomic rehabilitation therefore seem important strategic therapeutic targets. This review seeks to delineate the important aspects of pulmonary artery development and maturation in functionally univentricular physiology patients, pulmonary artery biology, pulmonary vascular reserve with exercise, and pulmonary artery morphologic and pharmacologic rehabilitation.
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