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Heart Summit in 3-D

The Heart Summit at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is an opportunity for medical leaders from around the world to gather and exchange ideas on complex cardiac conditions to help improve treatments and build medical consensus.

That is what Victor Hraska, MD, PhD, medical director of cardiothoracic surgery at Children’s and surgical director of the Herma Heart Institute, envisioned for the first-ever Heart Summit, which took place at Children’s in October 2017. The event, centered on the topic of Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries (CC-TGA), brought together more than 160 medical experts to learn about and discuss this heart malformation, including its history, treatment options, fetal assessment and post-operative complications.

The highlight of the event was a live 3-D surgery by Dr. Hraska, broadcast on an 18-foot screen in an auditorium where participants could hear and interact with Dr. Hraska as he performed an anatomical “double switch” correction.

Building knowledge and consensus
In CC-TGA, the left and right ventricles are on the “wrong” sides of the body. The result is the less muscular right ventricle becomes responsible for pumping red blood to the aorta and throughout the body. Even though a patient with CC-TGA has properly oxygenated blood and over the short term the right ventricle can handle the increased workload, eventually this ventricle will fail.

CC-TGA occurs in approximately 1 in 20,000 live births. Because of the extreme rarity of this condition, there simply aren’t enough cases to conduct a substantial study and collect meaningful data on which to base a standard treatment protocol.

“Nobody really knows what the right strategy is. Everybody has their own protocol, but there are no guidelines on how to approach these patients,” Dr. Hraska says. “That’s why we invited experts from other institutions to combine our experience with theirs. Hopefully, we can get a better understanding of how to approach this defect.”

In cases of CC-TGA, some doctors suggest watchful waiting until the right ventricle begins to fail. At that point, however, the function of the right ventricle usually cannot be restored, and a heart transplant may be required.

Dr. Hraska believes surgically reversing the defect and restoring the right and left ventricle to their proper function — as soon as the baby is physically able to endure the procedure — has the best long-term outcomes.

In the last 20 years, Dr. Hraska has performed more than 70 such surgeries. As he performed the procedure live during the Heart Summit, he invited his audience to ask questions, offer observations and even make suggestions on how to conduct the repair.

“The essential idea behind The Heart Summit was to create a platform for the exchange of ideas and information,” Dr. Hraska says. “We wanted to take the classic medical conference model and make it more interactive and engaging.”

The idea was so successful, that Dr. Hraska and his team are repeating the event with a new topic in 2018. Registration opens soon.

“You can get this experience — and it’s a terrific experience — if you take part in our 2018 summit,” Dr. Hraska says. “We sincerely hope you will join us for this terrific interactive visual learning experience.”
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Save the Date for Heart Summit 2018

The meaningful education and exchange of ideas will continue at the next Heart Summit.
Topic: Controversies, Debates and Discussions in Left Ventricular Outflow Tract Reconstruction
Date: October 11, 2018
Location: Milwaukee
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