On March 9 and 10, 2021, more than 400 medical professionals tuned in via a virtual platform for the Seventh Annual Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Chronic Lung Disease Conference. The conference, which is typically held in person in Philadelphia, was held virtually this year due to COVID-19 safety precautions.
Chronic lung disease (CLD), also known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), is the most common chronic complication of premature birth. It affects approximately 25% of preterm infants with birth weights less than 1,500 grams and more than 50% of infants weighing less than 750 grams.
“BPD/CLD is a heterogeneous disease and a common cause of morbidity in extremely preterm infants,” says Kathleen Gibbs, MD, Medical Director of the Newborn and Infant Chronic Lung Disease Program at CHOP, and Co-course Director for the conference. “Our conference is designed to emphasize the principle that care of these infants is optimized by multidisciplinary collaboration with providers in various fields that will extend beyond hospital discharge.”
The virtual conference was held over two half days for professionals from multiple medical disciplines including physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, bedside nurses, as well as other members of the healthcare team such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, speech-language pathologists, dietitians and social workers who provide care for patients with CLD/BPD and their families. All talks were presented live and included a live Q & A after each session as well as a live chat feature. The conference offered CME credits for physicians and CEU credits for seven other disciplines.
“It was amazing, in the current environment that COVID has created, to be able to showcase national and international experts in the care of CLD infants and their families this year,” says Kathy Nilan, RN, Nurse Coordinator of the Newborn and Infant Chronic Lung Disease Program, and Co-course Director. “We appreciate all the attendees attending a virtual conference.”
The conference was honored to have as its keynote speaker Lex Doyle, MD, Associate Director of Research at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Doyle spoke about the consequences of helping extremely preterm or tiny infants breathe after birth. The Kristine Sandberg Knisely Lectureship, established with generous support from the Knisely family and CHOP’s Division of Neonatology, was presented by Jochen Profit, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. Dr. Profit spoke about addressing disparities in perinatal care delivery.
Session presenters included CHOP team members, an interdisciplinary mix of specialists from across the country from various institutions caring for patients with CLD, and members of the BPD Collaborative.
Presentation topics included:
- Ventilatory Strategies in Infants with Established Severe BPD: A Multicenter Point Prevalence Study
- Bronchoalveolar Lavage T-Cell Profiles in Young Adults with a History of BPD
- Identifying and Addressing Provider Distress: Waving the Pink Flag Before It Becomes a Red Flag
- Approaches to Oral Feeding on CPAP
- Beyond the CRIB: Navigating the Inpatient to Outpatient Transition
- Transitions in Care: From NICU to Complex Care Unit to Home
- The Role of Physical Therapy Services in NICU Follow-Up
- Journeys of Interdisciplinary Teams: A Survey of the BPD Collaborative
- Importance of Frontline Providers and Nursing Leadership on the BPD Team
- Developmental Therapy on Respiratory Support: Success by Team Approach
This year’s conference also featured CHOP’s own Huayan Zhang, MD, Director of the Newborn and Infant Chronic Lung Disease Program, who joined from China to share her expertise in her presentation entitled, “An International Perspective on BPD: A Common Problem from Both Sides of the World.” A panel of three former NICU parents of infants with chronic lung disease made for a very touching and awe-inspiring presentation for all.
“We were grateful to have the technological support to host our conference virtually this year and once again attracted an outstanding breadth of multidisciplinary and interprofessional speakers from across the world,” says Dr. Gibbs. “In addition, given the voice of the parent is fundamental to our work, we were ecstatic to have a panel of speakers discuss their journey as the parent of a child with severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Our ‘Great Debate’ regarding the decision to perform a tracheostomy on a patient on noninvasive support had a thrilling finish. We are hopeful to see everyone in person in 2022!”
BPD collaborative meeting
Following the Chronic Lung Disease Conference, CHOP facilitated the yearly meeting of the BPD Collaborative, a group comprised of clinicians from 24 different institutions who are committed to improving care and lifelong outcomes of babies with severe BPD. The BPD Collaborative Meeting was held over two half days on a virtual platform. It was attended by more than 100 people representing the 24 Collaborative sites. It featured robust discussions, information sharing and collaboration around future projects, studies and trials.
This year’s conference was made possible in part by the generous philanthropic support of James and Ivana D’Agostino.