On Thursday 16 January 2014, two hundred and fifty participants gathered in the Hajar Auditorium for the 1st Congenital Heart Disease Symposium, focusing on the latest advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart disease. The event was organized by the Pediatric Cardiothoracic Department of HMC in collaboration with The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Toronto, Canada.

Participants had the opportunity to learn from prominent experts in the field from HMC and international speakers including Dr. Andrew Redington, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at SickKids, and Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon, Founder and Director of Magdi Yacoub Research Network, Qatar Cardiovascular Research Center and Chain of Hope Charity. Topics ranged from pediatric cardiology, pediatric cardiac surgery, pediatric cardiac anesthesia and pediatric intensive care, highlighting the current management of these patients in Qatar.

Congenital heart disease refers to a range of birth defects that affect the normal workings of the heart. It is the most common birth defect, with approximately one million babies with congenital heart disease born worldwide every year. Symptoms of the condition may include rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, excessive sweating, extreme tiredness and fatigue, a blue tinge to the skin (cyanosis), tiredness and rapid breathing when a baby is feeding.

“The symposium allowed us to discuss the current expertise both here and abroad in the management of congenital heart disease, a condition which is on the rise in Qatar. It was a very informative and interesting day, which hopefully can be built upon in the future,” said Dr. Syed Abdul Aziz Syed Zin, Chairperson of the Symposium Organizing Committee and Senior Consultant of Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia

“We provided an excellent overview of progress achieved in Qatar in the treatment of congenital heart conditions. The discussion also focused on future developments, with invited speakers discussing new developments in the field. This was a great initiative and I look forward to other similar meetings in the future,” Prof. Sir Magdi Yacoub, who lectured on surgery for transposition of the great arteries, commented.