Many thanks to Stephanie Pouch and Martin Schweiger for coordinating the content for this month's issue.

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It's that time of year again, the season of giving, festivities, celebration and music to rekindle the soul. For this final issue of 2015 we have another cause of merriment. Our inimitable, gifted and esteemed program chair, Andy Fisher provides us with his Halftime Report "Abstract Deadline Day has the best content awaits you at ISHLT 2016." Michele Estabrook, on behalf of the Infectious Disease Council, gives us "Wait! You have what in Missouri? Infections on the Move," after which, Walter Paulsen and Blanca Gonzales present us with "Influenza Vaccine Update 2015-2016," and "Pediatric Infectious Disease Pre Transplant Evaluation: An Opportunity to Optimze and Educate." On behalf of the Pediatrics Council, Ranny Goldwasser heralds the importance of "Vaccination Prior to Organ Transplantation" as Martin Schweiger reminds us on the importance of preparing our thoracic recipients for a "sleigh ride" or travel across the globe with his insightful summary on "Travel Vaccine Recommendations after Pediatric Heart Transplantation."

More season's greetings with News and Announcements given to us by Monica Colvin's Donor Discussion Forum Announcement "Would You Take This Donor." And no, not set to the music of Pachebel's Canon in D. And speaking of music, and in keeping with the form and structure of the December Issues of Christmas Past, how they relate to the ISHLT and how they may rekindle our souls which began with Romanticism, Nationalism, and Exoticism, followed by Hair, Lead, Deafness: The Heart of the Matter, The Magical, Mystical and Mythical Music of Mozart: The Mere Mortal and Red-Hair, Passion, Fury, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Goethe and Opium, we present you another selected composer of Great Music and his influence on the World, the ISHLT and Christmas in our Special Interest section by yours truly - "Tchaikovsky: The Genius of Emotion - Facts, Fiction, Fables, Fairy Tales - The Right Stuff." To wrap up with ribbon and a bow, from the Editor's Corner we give you, "The Professor, WG, Silent Cal and The Chief."

Happy Holidays!

Vincent Valentine, MD
Links Editor-in-Chief


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Abstract Deadline Day has all the best content awaits you at ISHLT 2016!

Andrew J. Fisher, FRCP, PhD
2016 Program Chair

Another key milestone in our preparations for the Annual Meeting 2016 in Washington DC has been completed! The abstract submission deadline saw over 1500 abstracts submitted for presentation. I won't deny that 24 hours before the abstract deadline I was feeling very concerned that there wouldn't be enough content, as only 300 completed abstracts had been received. However, I should have realized that many were adding finishing touches to their best work; at the last minute another 1200 came in, most in the final 6 hours! Read more →


Wait, you have what in Missouri? Infections on the Move

Michele Estabrook, MD

links imageHaving worked in California for many years, coccidioidomycosis was always on my radar but not in St. Louis where I now live. That's why a recent MMWR report "Coccidioidomycosis in a State Where it is not known to be Endemic - Missouri, 2004-2013" definitely got my attention. The impetus for the report was national data showing not only a dramatic increase in total cases reported in the endemic states of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah but also in many other states (28 in all). The Missouri Department of Health identified 93 cases of confirmed cocci between 2004 and 2013 with a significant increase in incidence over those years. Read more →

Influenza Vaccine Update 2015-2016

Grant Paulsen, MD

links imageIf you haven't noticed by now, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, influenza season is upon us. It's also generally accepted that influenza infection can be troublesome in heart and lung transplant recipients. And, as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Seasonal influenza activity is reported by the CDC on a weekly basis, available at Based on last year's influenza surveillance, peak activity occurred during the last week of the year, so we are likely far from the end of influenza season and it is not too late to stress the importance of vaccination. Read more →

Pediatric Infectious Disease Pre Transplant Evaluation: An Opportunity to Optimize and Educate

Blanca E Gonzalez, MD

links imageThe main goal of the Infectious Disease pre-transplant evaluation is to identify factors that have the potential to negatively impact the outcome of the transplant and that can be prevented by treatment, vaccination or prophylaxis. It also serves as an opportunity to educate the family regarding environmental exposures and behaviors that may result in infection acquisition post transplantation. A thorough review of the child's infectious disease history and screening for latent and active infections is performed during the evaluation. Read more →


Vaccination Prior to Organ Transplantation

Ranny Goldwasser, MD

links imageThe prevention of systemic viral and bacterial infections through vaccination is one of the basic and most important tasks in the field of pediatrics. In the field of organ transplantation, where the young children are immunosuppressed in order to avoid allograft rejection, avoiding infection through vaccination plays even a more crucial role. To prevent a graft rejection patients usually need a lifelong immunosuppression medication, which is causing a reduced cell-mediated immunity and a limited antibody production. Read more →

Travel Vaccine Recommendations After Pediatric Heart Transplantation

Martin Schweiger, MD, PhD

links imageIf one is to believe the great German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe, the wise man obtains the best education while traveling. It seems this message has been heard by a great number of people worldwide, when one looks at international travel statistics-which reported more than one billion tourist arrivals globally in 2013. Heart transplantation is a life-saving treatment, and intends to improve quality of life and reintegration into social life. This might even be truer for children and teenagers, as traveling across different countries adds to their personal development. Read more →


Would You Take This Donor?

Monica M. Colvin, MD

links imageSelecting the appropriate donor for a given recipient is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining post-transplant outcomes. Conferences, statements, and manuscripts abound yet still have not clarified the nuances of optimal donor and recipient matching. With little data to guide us, we often formulate decisions based on prior experience and use the multiple hit theory to provide rationale when a donor just doesn't seem right, "'s a female into a male, she used cocaine three years ago, and was hypertensive. One small hit is ok, but three small hits? Maybe we shouldn't take it." Then we poll additional colleagues, "Would you have taken this donor?" Read more →


Tchaikovsky: The Genius of Emotion - Facts, Fiction, Fables, Fairy Tales - The Right Stuff

Vincent Valentine, MD

Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony (the Pathétique) premiered on October 28, 1893 in St Petersburg when he was at the height of his fame and popularity rarely experienced by any living artist. Nine days later, on November 6, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was dead. A cover up began immediately. According to his brother, Modest, Pyotr died of cholera after "carelessly" drinking unboiled water. This remained Pyotr's cause of death for a century. The heart of the matter surrounding his death was that both Pyotr and Modest were homosexuals. Read more →


The Professor, WG, Silent Cal and The Chief

Vincent Valentine, MD

links imageWoodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia on December 29, 1856. He grew up son of a Presbyterian minister during the Civil War and its reconstruction. He graduated from Princeton and after completing law school at the University of Virginia, he practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia. He pursued an academic career and taught history and political science at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins in 1886. He became a professor of political science at Princeton in 1890 and was elected president of Princeton in 1902. Read more →


Vincent G Valentine, MD

Editorial Staff

"Music...Alone it calms, enlightens, and stills our souls...not the straw to which the drowning man clings; but a true friend, refuge, and comforter, for whose sake life is worth living."
— Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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Disclaimer: Any opinion, conclusion or recommendation published by the Links is the sole expression of the writer(s) and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ISHLT.