2018 Annual Meeting Summary

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The 10th Annual NECCA Meeting took place on October 13th and 14th at the beautiful Water’s Edge Resort and Spa in Westbrook, Connecticut.   Sixty-eight congenital cardiology physicians and nurse practitioners from fourteen practices across all six states in the New England region participated in the two day meeting.   Dr. Robert Elder from Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital and Dr. Brooke Davey from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center were the regional hosts who began the meeting with a welcome message and an introduction to the great state of Connecticut.   NECCA President Dr. David Kane delivered his President’s Message, highlighting the spirit of fellowship and collaboration that NECCA embodies.  He invited Drs. Lucy Arnold, David Fulton and Pip Hidestrand to provide their perspectives from throughout the region on the ideals and values of the organization in the areas of mentorship, quality improvement and research.  This led to the interactive table top discussions where members discussed NECCA’s strengths, suggested new initiatives and brainstormed ways to better connect and collaborate clinically as a region.

The focus then turned to the main theme of the meeting highlighted by the title “Scared to Death: Dilemmas in Coronary Artery Assessment and Management”.  Dr. Albert Sinusas, an adult cardiologist and nuclear-medicine expert from Yale-New Haven began the discussion by educating the audience about state of the art congenital coronary imaging.  This was followed by Dr. Jane Newburger from Boston Children’s who spoke about the approach to caring for patients with anomalous coronary artery from opposite sinus from the cardiologist’s perspective.  Dr. Carlos Mery, our invited speaker from Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, TX, then discussed his extensive experience with patients with anomalous coronary artery from the opposite sinus from the cardiac surgeon’s perspective.   

After a break for the NECCA Annual Meeting photograph and lunch, Dr. Robert Elder moderated a panel discussion that included Drs. Carlos Mery, Jane Newburger, Albert Sinusas, Brooke Davey and Ryan Callahan (Interventionalist from BCH).  Several very interesting cases of patients with anomalous coronary arteries were presented to the panel and discussed by the group.  Afternoon breakout sessions included :

1.       A coronary artery management group that discussed current challenges and potential regional projects focused on the meeting’s theme

2.       A NECCA QI discussion on new directions for the team

3.       NECCA growth and development team focused on new initiatives and the upcoming spring meeting 

After a well-deserved break to recharge came one of the annual traditions and important parts of the meeting, the cocktail hour, this year overlooking the setting sun over the Long Island Sound.  Dinner followed with a President’s Welcome Toast recognizing outgoing and incoming board members.  Dr. Robert Elder then interviewed Dr. Bill Hellenbrand who discussed his perspective on the changing landscape of interventional pediatric cardiology.  

On Sunday morning, the day began with a video presentation from Steve Sanders evaluating autopsy specimens of patients with anomalous coronary anatomy.  Dr. Robert Elder then provided an update on the work of the Fontan Working Group and Dr. Jonathan Flyer presented updates on the progress made by the Aortopathy Working Group over the past year. Next Dr. Scott Yeager provided updates from the New England Congenital Cardiology Research Foundation and invited Drs. Douglas Mah and Sarah de Ferranti to present updates on their research projects supported by NECCRF grant funding. 

The final group discussion focused on the Texas and Boston experiences for diagnosis and management of patients with coronary artery anomalies.  We look forward to our next regional collaborative project focusing on coronary anomalies! Next year’s NECCA Annual Meeting will take place a Chatham Bars Inn, which is on Cape Cod in beautiful Chatham, Massachusetts on October 5th and 6th of 2019.  Save the date!

We are also looking ahead to the new addition of the NECCA spring meeting in Boston, Massachusetts at the Liberty Hotel on March 23, 2019.