Pediatric Heart Event Brings a World of Expertise 

Posted on Sep 13, 2018

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital brought together the Sixth Scientific Meeting of the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery (WSPCHS) and the 18th International Symposium on Congenital Heart Disease this summer in Orlando, Florida, drawing more than 700 health care professionals from around the world.

The World Society is the largest professional organization dedicated to pediatric and congenital cardiac surgery. The International Symposium, usually held in St. Petersburg, brings together cardiac experts with a focus on congenital heart disease.

This event brought together 709 cardiac professionals from all over the world for lectures by preeminent speakers, late-breaking research updates, clinical abstracts, and networking opportunities with global cardiovascular experts in public health. The scientific program included plenary sessions in the mornings and seven break out tracks in the afternoons for Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology and Fetal Cardiology, Anesthesia, Intensive Care, Nursing, Perfusion, Administration and Post-Graduate Training.

“I was very excited about the opportunity to merge these two conferences together in 2018 and capitalize on the strengths of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) directed by Melodye Farrar, CHCP, CMP-HC,” explains Jeff Jacobs, M.D., FACS, FACC, FCCP, professor of surgery and pediatrics in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and deputy director of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute. Jacobs is a founding chair of the International Symposium on Congenital Heart Disease and has directed the symposium for the past 18 years; he also served as the founding secretary of World Society from 2006-14.

The mission of the World Society is to promote the highest quality comprehensive cardiac care to all patients with congenital heart disease, from the fetus to the adult, regardless of the patient’s economic means, with an emphasis on excellence in teaching, research and community service. Their vision is that every child born anywhere in the world with a congenital heart defect should have access to appropriate medical and surgical care.

The International Symposium opened with multidisciplinary sessions focused on “Transposition of the Great Arteries” and the “Arterial Switch Operation: Lessons Learned After 40 Years and Future Steps for Improvement.” The International Symposium then merged with the World Society scientific meeting. Each morning featured engaging plenary sessions with individualized specialty tracks in the afternoons.

The optional surgical skills lab, featuring 3D-printed hearts, provided unique opportunities to improve surgical skills on a variety of complex congenital cardiac anomalies. Participants then took their 3D-printed hearts back to their home institutions for future study and reference.

“The opportunity to merge these two events in 2018 aligned with the educational mission of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Our attendees were thrilled with the wealth of information our combined conference afforded them,” Jacobs concludes. “We look forward to seeing this brilliant group of attendees join us Oct. 5–8, 2019 for the 2019 International Symposium on Congenital Heart Disease at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club.”

Jacobs is also a co-chair of the 2021 World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery to be held Sept. 18–24, 2021 in Washington, D.C. The 2021 World Congress expects 5,000 attendees, and Johns Hopkins is the continuing medical education provider. Visit for more on the 2021 World Congress.

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