Your Hosts

The South African Heart Association is the host and Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa the organiser of the 6th World Congress which will be held in the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) between 17 and 22 February 2013. The World Congress is run for and on behalf of the International Steering Committee for the World Congress. The Organizing Committee is chaired by Dr. Susan Vosloo (Cardiothoracic Surgeon) and Dr. Christopher Hugo-Hamman (Cardiologist).

Our Vision

The World Congress will powerfully reinforce the notion that children with heart disease everywhere ought not to be denied the benefits of medical science and our vision is to use this Congress as a platform to spread cardiac care to those without access.

About the Congress

The 6th World Congress will build on the solid scientific foundations established through previous World Congresses from Paris in 1993, through Cairns 2009. Cape Town provides the meeting place for the global coalition of doctors, nurses and health scientists who use research and technological development to provide better care for babies, children and adults with heart disease. This is the major international scientific event for our global community and an opportunity to highlight and review four years of research and technological developments in basic sciences, clinical research and therapeutic interventions.   The best international faculty promises an exceptional scientific programme across the different disciplines, from interventions, procedures and operations through critical care.

Many countries are still plagued by rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, tuberculosis, cardiomyopathy, HIV and AIDS. This burden of acquired heart disease in children and adults presents a different set of management challenges which feature prominently at the World Congress. The World Congress is the occasion to emphasize the glaring inadequacies in delivery of cardiac care to children in many countries and to use our global forum to find creative humanitarian solutions to develop new services in resource poor environments.

The limitations to developing cardiac care in the presence of financial, managerial and human resource constraints are problems shared between colleagues from both well developed and less developed countries. Science alone will not meet these challenges and our setting offers public policy developers, health system managers, health economists and planners the forum to engage with the health systems solutions necessary to initiate, develop and improving cardiac care for children and adults.


Themes are ideas given expression through all disciplines and across all of our 5 "tracks". These strengthen the science base of the Congress.

  • Improving research capacity in congenital heart disease.
  • Computer modeling, advances in technology and effects on patient care.
  • Basic science brought to the bedside and to the operating table.
  • The missed opportunities for preventing heart disease.


Depending on your specialty or fields of interest, there are 5 "tracks" for delegates to follow at the Congress. Parallel sessions mean you can switch across tracks as you please. All scientific sessions at this Congress are open to any delegate i.e. you are not hostage to any of the 5 tracks on any day or at any time. The tracks are as follows:

Cardiology and the revolution in cardiovascular imaging

New imaging modalities have greatly enhanced our diagnostic power, enabled dramatic new interventions and assisted and guided a great number of surgical innovations. The deployment of these latest tools in determination of ventricular size and function and in the analysis of valve performance in rheumatic disease are the two focal points for the section of cardiovascular imaging.

The needs of the office cardiologist are often ignored and we focus on essential skills, drugs and the heart, the understanding and interpretation of the indispensable imaging modalities and the management of the syncope and sudden cardiac death.

Electrophysiology, improvements in mapping and tracking through to modern ablation techniques and defibrillation are topics thoroughly investigated under this Track.

Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, which accounts for more than half of the burden of heart disease in adolescents and young adults, is now finally starting to get recognition as a public health priority. We investigate the subject from pathogenesis, diagnosis and disease management but also show what surveillance and disease registries are starting to tell us about this disease.

Catheter based interventions – from foetus to adult

Much of what you do in your cath lab is a "risky business" and we explore this theme across many problems in this track. Trans catheter valve placements on both sides of the heart and the management of the awkward appendage are the newer interventions which will get special attention. We will look ahead and discuss what the 21st century technologies promise for further developments in the cath lab.

The intervention track evolves through a combination of lectures, debates, master class, pre-recorded and of course interactive "live cases".

Health systems and heart disease

Being better advocates for those with congenital and acquired heart disease requires that we have accurate data on the burden of disease. That data is still for the many regions of the world either scantly or speculative. So we ask, what is the worldwide burden of disease? We ask the questions, how can global collaboration distribute cardiac care in less well developed countries, what can we learn from humanitarian efforts in children's heart surgery on four continents, how can we extract synergy from these diverse efforts often within the same country? What are the ethics of resource allocation in every country and how do we prioritize interventions and surgeries in resource limited environments?

We explore issues in training, re-training and retaining nurses, surgeons and cardiologists for different environments and using different methods, showing both dramatic success stories but equally strong failures.

Research is the third topic with in this track and examines the need for large scale multicenter studies using methodologies applicable to small surgical cohorts. We elaborate on strategies to improve capacity for health and heart science particularly in the neglected heart diseases and in the regions of the world where there are major resource constraints to science. Disease registries are becoming both popular and time consuming and we ask what value is added from this data collection?

In International Society for Nomenclature in Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease will have its summit at the World Congress. That is an occasion to inquire, what is in a name? Harmonization between diverse coding systems will be an important agenda item and there will be an update on progress towards the ICD 11.

Cardiac surgery and intensive care

"Perioperative care" brings together various specialties to investigate issues of quality and safety, advances in anesthesia, the evidence for state of the art pharmacology and fluid therapy, cardiopulmonary bypass and perfusion, the critical "first 24 hours" after surgery, the challenges to sepsis control and elimination.

With a strong foundation in basic science, embryology and morphology, this track concentrates on three sets of problems or pathologies; the left ventricle and left ventricular outflow tract obstruction, the right ventricle and right ventricular outflow tract obstruction and on surgery for rheumatic valvular disease.

In Cape Town, South Africa, it is appropriate to reflect on the development of heart transplantation and mechanical support since the pioneering work of Christiaan Barnard and others at Groote Schuur Hospital and elsewhere in the 1960's.

Adults with congenital and acquired heart diseases

The high numbers of adult survivors with congenital heart disease means an ever increasing burden of this disease with a population of adult orientated cardiologists and surgeons possibly not well equipped to manage them. For this reason we highlight adult disease as one of the tracks however, the more adult focused cardiologists and surgeons will find problems peculiar to more adult populations spread across all of the 5 tracks.

The other platform in this track acknowledges the antecedents of lifestyle related heart disease are all to be found in children. Therefore within the track we investigate preventative strategies in nutrition, diet, exercise, substance use and abuse which will lead to improvements in heart health.


Numerous international societies and institutions have added voice to the vision that the 4 yearly World Congress of Paediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery is the defining international event in the lives of those of us who are interested in helping children with heart disease. This is the first time the World Congress has ever been held in Africa and they have acknowledged that South Africa in 2013 presents a unique opportunity to reflect on the burden of heart disease in children in Africa and discuss together how best assist Africa meet the substantial cardiac service and human capacity deficit on the continent. The lessons learned for Africa have obvious bearing on other lower income countries and less developed regions. These institutions are cooperating with the 6th World Congress in one way or another and in a strong message of support, several have cancelled their own meetings in 2013 in favour of the World Congress.

These institutions are –

  • South African Heart Association (SAHA)
  • Pan African Society of Cardiology (PASCAR)
  • Association of European Paediatric Cardiology (AEPC)
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
  • World Society for Paediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery (WSPCHD)
  • Congenital Structural Intervention Society (CSI)
  • International Society for Nomenclature in Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (ISPCHD)
  • All Children's Hospital, St Petersburg
  • Asia Pacific Pediatric Cardiac Society