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A Transplant Fellow's Experience at the 2016 International Heart & Lung Transplantation Annual Meeting


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Liran Levy
Toronto General Hospital
Toronto, ON, Canada
Liran.Levy@uhn.ca



I was fortunate to attend the 2016 International Heart & Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) annual meeting in Washington, DC on April 26-30. The ISHLT is a multidisciplinary, professional organization dedicated to improving the care of patients with advanced heart or lung disease through transplantation, mechanical support and innovative therapies via research, education and advocacy. It was established in 1981 at a small gathering of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. Today it consists of 3000 members from over 45 countries, representing over 15 different professional disciplines.

ISHLT was my very first transplant conference of such magnitude. I did not know what to expect and nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed. Many of my esteemed colleagues were attending as well and I was honored to be a part of the group representing Toronto Lung Transplant Program. It was the first time I was exposed to such breadth of information on research and clinical work done in the field of lung transplantation. Additionally, there were dozens of presentations done by my colleagues covering state of the art research and clinical practice. In many sessions that I attended, there were multiple mentions of leaders from our lung transplant program (Director Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, program Medical Director Dr. Lianne Singer and others) who have made valuable contributions in the field and whom fellows like myself are very lucky to have as mentors and supervisors. I was so excited and proud to see that a significant amount of data obtained over the past few years in surgical techniques, lung preservation, intensive care and health-related quality of life assessment in advanced lung disease and lung transplantation came from my program. I felt humbled and proud to join a world renowned team of experts that are considered to be leaders in the field of lung transplantation. And I realize, that many other fellows from other centers felt similarly.

The conference also gave me a chance to network with experts and also trainees from around the world. Many fellows were conducting sessions representing their own countries and being an international fellow from Israel myself, I felt thrilled and inspired by that. Thanks to the conference, I have been able to gain plenty of cutting edge information and knowledge delivered by experts and I also learned to appreciate and never to take for granted our amazing and dedicated team.

The session that I enjoyed the most was the one presenting our group's results regarding lungs from donors post circulatory arrest that were put on Ex-vivo lung perfusion and then transplanted. In contrast to all expectations, such lungs proved to be at least as good as lung taken from brain dead donors. The most amazing discovery was that we are actually leading in this technology that proves to increase lung donation through utilization of extended criteria donation that in the past would have otherwise been declined.

Overall, this conference was undoubtedly a unique learning opportunity that broadened my horizons and also made me feel really inspired and motivated. I had a chance to get acquainted with fields in lung transplantation that I had not been exposed to before and I also gained enormous appreciation for what we do. This experience also helped me get clearer on my future focus and goals incorporating clinical aspects in the care of lung transplant patients as well as lab research. There are not enough words to express how incredibly lucky I consider myself to have been allowed the opportunity to be a part of the ISHLT and my hope is that I can give back by raising the standards and contributing more in the future. ■

Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.




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