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Journal of Nursing

The Cardiac Diagnostic Interventional Symposium (CDIS), 2013

John H. Balcom; RN, BScN, BHA; staff nurse, Creator and Chair of CDIS [email protected]


In line with the SickKids vision, “Healthier Children. A Better world.” derived the conception of the first Cardiac Diagnostic Interventional Symposium. The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada’s most research-intensive hospital and the largest center dedicated to improving children’s health in Canada. SickKids are innovators in child’s health and improves the health of children by integrating care, research and teaching.

Over 40 nurses, physicians and allied healthcare professionals from the Hospital for Sick Children, and surrounding areas of Toronto, Atlanta, and Washington, DC attended the Cardiac Diagnostic Interventional Symposium (CDIS), that was held at The Hospital for Sick Children on October 18th-19th, 2013. This state-of-the-art Mitchell Goldhar Cardiac Diagnostic and Interventional Unit (CDIU) specially designed for children, opened in June of 2007. The 18,00O square-foot unit includes two catheterization labs, an integrated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine and a post-anaesthetic recovery areas for patients.

The CDIU was designed with children in mind as the units outer space theme provides a fun, stress free environment in waiting areas, corridors and treatment rooms. There are built-in lava lamps, an interactive asteroid, as well as colorful lights and wall decorations to distract patients from upcoming procedures. The corridors are lined with educational and research based posters exhibiting the dedication for excellence by the CDIU physicians, nursing and allied healthcare staff.

The symposium focused on nursing and allied healthcare professional education. The objectives included: outlining new and emerging approaches to diagnostic and management in cardiac catheterization care; perspectives of innovation, research and education; networking and dialogue around team building and interdisciplinary collaboration within the cardiac catheterization unit and; review of best practices in the transition of care to adult centres. This was accomplished through seminars developed and presented by a variety of renowned Cath Lab experts.

Presentations covered the following topics: a tour of the CDIU; fetal cardiac interventions; electrophysiology: the basics; Good 2 Go Program: pediatrics to adult transition; pulmonary hypertension; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO); hybrid stage I/II: coordination; anesthesia in the Cath Lab; Haemodynamic assessment by respiratory mass spectrometry (Mass Spec) and direct Fick; radiation safety; history of cardiac catheterization; clinic and Post-anaesthesia care unit (PACU); cardiac catheterization of the single ventricle heart; overview of interventional cardiology; structural intervention in adults; Comfort Talk/local anesthetic study; virtual cardiac catheterization of the fetus by MRI; cadaver lab/pathology specimens including over 50 hearts consisting of congenital heart defects; and vendor presentations on cath lab topics.

The symposium was created due to the desires of nursing staff for more Cath Lab specific education in an engaging and interactive format. They also wanted a forum where Cath Lab nurses could exchange knowledge and learn from each other on an international and/or regional level. This was accomplished through the variety of presentation formats and structure of the symposium. Evaluation from the participants that attended the sessions revealed that the presentations were informative, educational, and engaging.

The symposium committee from Sick Kids created this event. This included nurses and allied health care professionals. The committee began by reflecting on many educational topics and developed themes that directed the content of the symposium.

The primary sponsor Cardiac Kids was integral to the success of the symposium. Other sponsors included St. Jude Medical, Alere, Cordis, Boston Scientific, Gore, and Medtronic were beneficial in supporting other aspects of the symposium. Many of the sponsors also set up a booth at the symposium where they displayed information and innovative technology to support advancement in the Cath Lab.

Future concepts of the symposium are in the planning phases for September 2015. The symposium will have abstracts and submissions as indicated through evaluations from participants. It will be held at the new Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning tower, located next to the Hospital for Sick Children in downtown Toronto Canada. This tower is believed to be the largest child health research tower in the world and demonstrates SickKids investment in advancing paediatric research. Other plans include a live case performed by Dr. Benson who is currently the director of the Cardiac Diagnostic and Interventional Unit at The Hospital for Sick Children and cadaver heart labs to provide education and enhance knowledge of specific cardiac defects. Another addition is an open forum with actual patients to discuss and answer questions of their personal experiences. The committee continues to meet regularly to further plan and develop the 2015 Symposium.


Overall, the CDIS 2013 was a success and met the educational needs of the nursing staff and attendees. This event provides the momentum for the beginning of an educational tradition at the Hospital for Sick Children that will add to generating “Healthier Children. A Better World”.

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