Expert Opinion: The ACPC During a Pandemic

Cardiology Magazine Image

Welcome to the new reality, a situation far removed from our modern way of life just a short month ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented devastation worldwide, resulting in school closures and cancelation of weddings, funerals, the Summer Olympics and all professional meetings, including ACC.20 Together With World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.20/WCC).

Health uncertainty and rapidly rising death rates have led to events unimaginable just a few weeks ago, wreaking havoc on the economy and our lives.

Our health care and medical academic systems have never been under such stress since World War II, blind-sided by pharmaceutical and equipment shortages, canceling elective visits and procedures, screening and limiting hospital visitors, "repurposing" personnel and units, curtailing trainee clinical exposure, shifting to virtual conferences and online learning and urgently assessing the clinical competency of learners ahead of their original graduation dates.

Despite the necessary focus on this pandemic, life goes on, as does the need for education. ACC.20/WCC has become a Virtual Experience, available for free online access through the end of June. There are 23 recorded sessions, including the McNamara Lecture.

This year, Kathy J. Jenkins, MD, MPH, FACC, previous chair of the ACC Adult Congenital and Pediatric Cardiology (ACPC) Member Section, gives us an inspiring talk on quality in congenital heart disease (CHD), urging us all to harness leadership, collaboration and technology to give every child born with CHD worldwide access to much needed healthcare.

Select sessions including Exercise Is Still the Best Medicine, Innovations to Personalize the Care of Congenital Heart Disease, and Contemporary Approaches to Fontan Management are available as slides on demand. Abstracts across 10 learning pathways and CME/CNE credit are also available.

Cardiology Magazine Image

As a response to this pandemic, the regularly updated ACC COVID-19 Hub was established. There has been exponential growth of all forms of telemedicine. Efforts have focused on establishing guidelines in the management of patients during this crisis and the development of tools for patient education. We, as clinicians, must always remember it is important to practice intentional self-care.

In other business, the ACPC Section Leadership Council welcomes its new incoming Chair, Arwa Saidi, MEd, MBBCh, FACC, and is grateful to Timothy F. Feltes, MD, FACC, for his excellent leadership and service as the Section's chair for the past three years.

We also welcome our newest council member, Frank F. Ing, MD, FACC, who also leads the council's American Board of Pediatrics' Maintenance of Certification offering, the Question of the Month. Watch out for more about this over the next few months.

Our ACPC's Quality Working Group is initiating a project to assess appropriateness of imaging before and after release of the 2020 criteria, exploring center- and provider-level factors in "Rarely Appropriate Indications."

A Fontan Outcome Network has been established to improve outcomes of care, longevity and quality of life. A learning system developed in collaboration with parents, clinicians and researchers aims to facilitate discovery and disseminate best practices by building a national Fontan registry. Data collection is expected to begin in the next few months.

"Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good." ― Elizabeth Edwards

Cardiology Magazine Image

We as clinicians, educators and citizens, will overcome this pandemic, and hopefully soon, it will be a closed chapter in history.

I would like to think that the last paragraph of that chapter would be a telling of the good we have all put together.

We look forward to CHD Community Day (March 19) and ACC.21, on March 20-22, 2021 in Atlanta, GA.

On behalf of the ACC ACPC Leadership Council, I wish you all the best.

Stay healthy always!

Cardiology Magazine Image

This article was authored by M. Regina Lantin-Hermoso, MD, FACC, cardiologist at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, TX.