committee updates

News from the CCAS Research Committee

By David Faraoni, MD, PhD
Chair of the CCAS Research Committee

First and foremost, I hope all of you are safe and healthy. The last months have been difficult for healthcare care providers, friends, and family. Heart programs around the world are facing important challenges. Most institutions and research institutes had to shut their research activities down, which generated a significant amount of stress for principal investigators and research personnel.

On a more positive note, the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society (CCAS) Board of Directors has created a Research Committee to address the research needs of our specialty. I am privileged to be the inaugural chair of the CCAS Research Committee and to be working with an amazing group of researchers with expertise in the important topics of congenital cardiac anesthesia research. Our committee includes experts in transfusion and hemostasis, neuroprotection and outcome, database research, myocardial protection and hemodynamics, and more. It is my pleasure to count Dr. Mona Momeni from Brussels who is our International Representative currently serving as the Chair of the Paediatric and Congenital Committee of the European Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthesiology (EACTA).

The composition of the first CCAS Research Committee is:

  • Nina Guzzetta, MD
  • Kelly Machovek, MD, MPH
  • Rania Abbasi, MD
  • Lisa Wise-Faberowski, MD
  • Mona Momeni, MD, PhD (EACTA Representative)
  • James DiNardo, MD
  • Gregory Latham, MD (Vice Chair)
  • David Faraoni, MD, PhD (Chair)

The first task of our Research Committee has been to define the objectives of the committee and the roles that the CCAS Research Committee should play for our Society and to be a representative body communicating with research committees from other societies (e.g. SPA, SCA, EACTA). We have identified three pillars that the committee will be articulated around: mentorship, leadership, and dissemination (Figure).

Research pillars

Our committee has also identified the top priorities in congenital cardiac research:

  1. Neurologic outcomes and neuroprotection: mechanisms and protective strategies that impact neurologic outcomes.
  2. Understand and manage coagulopathy: strategies to improve bleeding management.
  3. Utilization of machine learning and database research to predict adverse events and identify strategies to improve outcome.   
  4. Regional anesthesia and pain management in neonates and children undergoing cardiac surgery.

Our objective will be to promote and help develop research initiatives in these and other areas. The current evidence in pediatric literature is limited to usually small, single-center retrospective and prospective studies.  It is therefore important to promote and support the development of large multi-center collaborations in order to improve the quality of the evidence. The number of funding opportunities for congenital cardiac anesthesia research is limited, and it will be our duty to develop funding opportunities, to help mentor junior investigators in their research endeavours, and to guide them through the steps of becoming independent researchers.

Finally, the goal of the CCAS Research Committee is to be open to members and colleagues interested in congenital cardiac anesthesia research. The creation of a platform where members can interact with the CCAS Research Committee will be key for success. Our first face-to-face meeting was held in the Bahamas and was extremely well attended despite the early time in the day. We are hoping that the number of participants will increase over time. The members of our Research Committee would also gladly help investigators review their research protocols or grant applications. 

Several communications platforms are available. I would encourage members to follow us on Twitter (@PedsCardiacAnes with the hashtag #CCASresearch) and on Slack where a research channel was created (#ccasresearch). I am also encouraging the members to share their expectations, ideas, and questions when it comes to the activities of the CCAS Research Committee with me by e-mail (david.faraoni@sickkids.ca).

I am proud to be a member of CCAS and to be working with such a dynamic group of great colleagues. The research future of CCAS is bright, and I am looking forward to working with our members to promote congenital cardiac anesthesia research.

Be safe everybody.

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