Taking into account the increasing interest in Latin America for Pulmonary Hypertension (PH), largely due to the Continuing Educational Programs in different Latin American countries on pulmonary hypertension in general and specifically in children in Colombia, we saw it convenient to organize the First Latin American Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension in Children in Colombia.
During the Symposium on PH in Leh Ladakh (India) on August 3rd - 7th 2012, with Dr. Alicia Marquez (Pediatric Cardiologist), we had a meeting with Prof. Ghazwan Butrous. In this meeting we agreed to organize the First Latin American Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension in Children in Colombia. This idea had the immediate approval and support of the PVRI and the Colombian Society of Cardiology whose President Dr. Efrain Gomez decided to give all the administration support for the its organization. Then, the dates and place of this event, were defined: Hotel Hilton in Cartagena de Indias on February 21st - 22nd, 2014.
For the development of the project, the great collaboration of Prof. Ghazwan Butrous and Prof. Sheila Glennis Haworth (current President of the PVRI) was very important. They, together with Prof. Ian Adatia (Alberta University, Edmonton Canada), Prof. Antonio Augusto Lopes, Head of Pediatric Cardiology, Heart Institute (INCOR), Sao Paulo Brazil, Dr. Maurice Beghetti, Head of Pediatric Cardiology, Heart Institute (INCOR), Sao Paulo Brazil, Dr. Maurice Beghetti, Head of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Geneve, Geneve Switzerland, Dr. Maria Jesus del Cerro, Head of Pediatric Cardiology, Centro Especial Ramón y Cajal, Madrid España and Dr. Julio Sandoval Head of Research, Instituto Nacional de Cardiologia de México, México DF, immediately accepted to collaborate as speakers. With Prof. Haworth’s collaboration, the draft of the program was made and everyone of the speakers contributed to the final program that covered the different topics related to PH in children, from the newborn (Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn), to the adult with PH related congenital heart disease. In the program, a lecture by Migdalia Dennis, President of the Latin Society of PH for patients, was included.
The Symposium was projected with two objectives: 1) To increase the interest on PH in children in Latin America and 2) to promote the research in this interesting topic, having as central issue, the importance of early detection of PH to avoid the pulmonary vascular disease. This was a very important aspect, as was reflected in the Logo of the Symposium, in which you can see the sentry box of the Cartagena walls that represent the pulmonary trunk which give origin to the pulmonary branches with pulmonary vascular disease, complication that we need to avoid. To promote the research, we gave great relevance to the Poster Session that was included in the scientific program. As an incentive, we received the money to give as a prize to the five best posters. The organization of the event required hard work for one and a half years.
The Symposium began with a simple opening ceremony on February 20th at 7:30pm in the Hilton Hotel near the beach. There were short talks from Dr. Gabriel Diaz, President of the Symposium, Dr. Efrain Gomez, President of the Colombian Society of Cardiology and Prof. Sheila Glennis Haworth, President of the PVRI. After that, there was a cocktail reception and a show of typical Caribbean dances.
The scientific program began on Friday 21st 2014 at 8:00 AM and ran until 6:00 PM with active participation of 147 participants (mainly Pediatric Cardiologists and Pediatric Pulmonologists) from different countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Honduras, Mexico, USA and a nourished Colombian participation. At noon and for two hours, the Poster Session was developed with a satisfying participation: 34 posters from different countries. The reviewers were the invited speakers and they selected the top five. At 7 PM there was an elegant dinner supported by one of the economic sponsors, in the Chapel of the Santa Clara Hotel (former Convent of the Poor Clares) in the beautiful Colonial Cartagena de Indias (inside the walled city).
On Saturday 22nd, the scientific program began at 7:00 AM with a work breakfast and despite the early hour, there was active participation of around 110 attendants. The central topic discussed was how to organize networks and registries on PH in Latin America, based on the experience of Dr. Maria Jesus Del Cerro in Spain, who was the speaker. This will be the basis for the development of the registry of PH in Children in Latin America. Then the scientific program continued, ending at 2:00 PM. It is important to note the permanent attendance of the participants; the conference room was full all the time.
We consider that the First Latin American Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension in Children was a complete success. The two objectives set at the beginning of the project were fulfilled. All the participants and the speakers were completely satisfied.
This First Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension in Children will be the basis for continuing the work on PH in Children in Latin America in the future, trying to achieve its two objectives: To increase the interest on Pulmonary Hypertension in Children and to promote the research in this interesting topic. We propose to organize this Symposium every two years and the next location being Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dr. Dora Fabiana Haag was nominated as President of the Symposium.
The Second Symposium on Pulmonary Hypertension will be in March or April 2017. The final date will be confirmed in the near future.