As our cardiology experts flock to sunny Scottsdale, Ariz., this weekend for Cardiology 2018 — 21st Annual Update on Pediatric and Congenital Cardiovascular Disease, sponsored by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — we have some exciting discoveries and developments from the last two weeks to share. In this roundup of research headlines, we meet our new Ruth M. Colket Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nursing at CHOP, learn about potential associations between infant heart surgeries and hearing loss, discuss research results about driver decals that can inform practice and policy, and share novel findings from families with food allergies.
Experts Convene in Scottsdale for Cardiology 2018
Sponsored by CHOP’s Cardiac Center, Cardiology 2018 will once again host hundreds of cardiologists and providers involved in the care of children with heart disease from around the world. From surgeons to nurses to neonatologists to sonographers, the attendees will network, share research findings and ideas, and discuss new ways to improve outcomes for children and families affected by heart conditions. The weekend includes a stellar lineup of events, including a 5K Heart Run co-sponsored by the Phoenix Children’s Hospital being held Feb. 24, as well as a symposium presented Feb. 25 by CHOP and the International Fontan Interest Group.
The symposium addresses a critical topic in cardiology care: As the population of children who receive Fontan procedures steadily grows (with close to half of them now young adults), clinicians are learning more about the complexities that the surgery — given to patients with single ventricle heart defects — might pose. During the symposium, titled “The Challenges of the Fontan Circulation: Where We Are, Where We Need to Be,” experts will give formal presentations of new ideas and projects and then engage in brainstorming discussions about solutions that involve all the key players, including healthcare providers, patients, and families.
Martha Curley, PhD, RN, Embarks on New Pediatric Nursing Role
We are thrilled to congratulate Martha A. Q. Curley, PhD, RN, FAAN, in her new appointment as the Ruth M. Colket Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nursing at CHOP. Over the last several decades, Dr. Curley, who is a professor in Nursing Science at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing, has focused her research on nurse-implemented interventions in children’s healthcare. Her studies, mostly funded by the National Institutes of Health, have informed the practice of caring for critically ill patients with acute respiratory failure, supported parent presence during invasive procedures and resuscitation, and highlighted relationship-based care when partnering with parents of seriously ill children. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Dr. Curley also has helped to develop the State Behavioral Scale, the Withdrawal Assessment Tool, Individualized Numeric Rating Scale, and the Braden QD scale.
“We are pleased to appoint Dr. Curley to her new role, which will help to foster interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research in child health across CHOP and Penn Nursing,” said Paula Agosto, RN, MHA, chief nursing officer at CHOP in a press statement.
Learn more in the press release.
Hearing Loss Common After Infant Heart Surgery
Lifespan research is an integral part of CHOP’s commitment to improving children’s health, as it observes the health of our patients as they age and move past previous health conditions or interventions, such as heart surgery they received as newborns. In a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, a group of researchers at CHOP found that by the age of 4, children who have heart surgery as babies are at risk for hearing loss and associated risks for language, attention, and cognitive problems. According to the paper, 21.6 percent, or 75, of 348 preschoolers who survived cardiac surgery had hearing loss — a rate that is 20 times higher than the general population. For study leader Nancy Burnham, RN, MSN, CRNP, a nurse practitioner in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at CHOP, the findings have important implications for clinicians.
“Children born with life-threatening heart defects require a great deal of sophisticated care before and after surgery,” Burnham said. “This study reminds healthcare providers not to overlook hearing evaluations because early detection and intervention can reduce later problems in neurodevelopment.” Burnham and her colleagues recommend that clinicians evaluate hearing in children who undergo heart surgery by 24 to 30 months to make time for potential early interventions.
Can Vehicle Decals Improve Young Driver Safety?
Can a decal requirement that mandates young drivers to display a decal stating their license status lead to lower crash rates and safer driving? In a new study led by Aimee Palumbo, PhD, MPH, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP), a team of researchers examined the impact that New Jersey’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) provision — the only kind currently installed in the US — might have on young driver behaviors. The provision requires young novice drivers to place a decal on their vehicle. The research team found that compliance rates for restrictions on passengers and nighttime driving remained high both before and after the decal provision, suggesting that the decal requirement did not change the extent to which novice young drivers drive at night or with peer passengers.
“I believe that GDL decal provisions may still be useful,” wrote Dr. Palumbo in a post about her research. “For example, teen drivers with a GDL decal affixed to their car may be more likely to comply with other GDL provisions, such as no cell phone use while driving or seat belt use for all vehicle occupants. They may also be more likely to obey other traffic safety laws and to drive more carefully in general. It’s also possible that requiring decal use during the learner permit period may help establish safe driving behaviors that continue into the intermediate license phase.”
Read Dr. Palumbo’s full article about the new findings on the CIRP website.
Parents of Children With Food Allergies Admit to Risky Behavior
>Caring for children with food allergies can come with its own challenges, and our clinicians are continuously learning how to support parents by understanding their behavior. On Reuters, Rushani Saltzman, MD, attending physician in the Division of Allergy at CHOP, recently weighed in on the takeaways and implications of a new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that found nearly half of parents admitted to risky behavior. These include not carrying a child’s epinephrine autoinjector or not reading food labels.
“It is imperative that all allergists and healthcare providers who see patients with food allergies take the time with each visit to review food allergen avoidance and label reading to avoid accidental exposures to food allergens,” Dr. Saltzman said in the interview.
Read Dr. Saltzman’s full comments on Reuters.
Recently on Cornerstone, we met our three newest scholars in the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for Academic Diversity: Michael Gonzalez, PhD, a geneticist studying complex conditions like amplified pain syndromes, Melvin Bates, PhD, a neurobiologist committed to better understanding how brain activity becomes behavior, and Annabel Torres, PhD, a cell biologist passionate about the cellular and genetic underpinnings of autoimmune disease.
Catch up on our headlines from our Feb. 9 edition of In the News:
- CAR-T Cell Benefits Persist in Leukemia Patients
- Calliope Joy Foundation Donates $110K Toward Leukodystrophy Research
- Dr. Tyra Bryant-Stephens Recognized for Community Asthma Prevention Program
- Dr. Katherine Dahlsgaard Weighs in On Teen Screen Time
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