Many thanks to Emily Stimpson and Ed Horn for coordinating the content for this month's issue.

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I will make no apologies about the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2015. It is part of me and our house in Old Metairie (lower right) that still weeps. As a result, the life of my family changed. I will not talk about news reporters, the stock market or other current events in America or abroad but what I will bring up are the deaths of two notable writers who greatly influenced America for nearly half a century, links imageOlivier Sacks and Wes Craven who both died on August 30, 2015. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and writer who brought back humanity to people suffering with brain disorders. Among his many books, he was the author of Migraine, Awakenings and the 1985 bestseller, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales. Who can forget Robin Williams as Dr Malcom Sayer and Robert De Niro as Leonard Lowe in the 1990 drama film Awakenings directed by Penny Marshall, America's Laverne from Laverne and Shirley. Wes Craven, the "Horror Maestro" is best known for his "slasher films." He was a writer, director and producer, who brought life to Freddie Krueger and made us all "Scream." He died of brain cancer.

Enough of dramatic horrors that shaped me, let's get back to the September Issue of the Links. In the Spotlight, we have the restlessness of Who Has Time to Be Still by Erin Wells. Our past-president Hermann Reichenspurner announces the Call for ISHLT Board of Directors Nominations and the all-important Call for Abstracts. From the Nursing, Health Science and Allied Health Council, we have a warm and necessary reminder on maintaining dignity in our care of the little hearts as summarized in It's "Child's Play" by Monica Horn and Sally Baker and the important role of being a mentor in the thoughtful, timely and well-written depiction by Jami Bennet in Mentoring: Not just for Newbie Nurses. From the Pharmacy and Pharmacology Council, we have an insightful and promising report on the first oral selective agonist of the prostacyclin IP receptor, Selexipag: The Next Major Advance in PAH Pharmacotherapy?, by Jim Coons. This is followed by the enumerable personalities, roles and behaviors of none other than intravenous immune globulin as described in Tam Khuu's report, Infection, Rejection and Hypogammaglobulinemia: The Chicken or the Egg? Of course our "darling" Christa Kirk of Seattle Children's Hospital and probably a Bon Jovi fan (who isn't?), will not and cannot give "love a bad name," but she has given us Clot Through the Heart...And You're to Blame?, a must read. Then, we have our Tattling Links section featuring Nathaniel Langer and Stuart Sweet. Finally, if you are hungry for more lessons from the American Presidents, then join me in the corner (you know the corner made famous by REM and Baby from Dirty Dancing? Maybe you don't know...) with From Old Rough and Ready to the Bachelor and the Tennessee Tailor: Out of Ineptness, Compromises, Know Nothings and Do Nothing comes a Pediatric Handbook and the Great Emancipator.

Vincent Valentine, MD
Links Editor-in-Chief


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Who Has Time To Be Still?

Erin Wells, BSN, CPN

Turn on the TV or radio, open any book or magazine and you are bound to come across something on the benefits of meditation. From reducing stress levels and blood pressure, to better sleep, to improved focus, the benefits are seemingly endless. I have tried several times to make meditation a part of my routine. It usually lasts about a week, before those 20 minutes in the morning get re-allotted to another task or "just trying to get out the door crisis". Read more →


During July and August, the Scientific Councils collected input from their members regarding their needs and their thoughts about the future strategic direction of ISHLT. A big THANK YOU to all of you who contributed to this information-gathering process. The next step is for the Council Chairs to meet with the Strategic Planning Task Force on September 2 to share the feedback they have received with the other Council Chairs and with the Task Force members. For the remainder of September, we will be conducting phone interviews of some key ISHLT leaders, as well as junior faculty members and non-members, and we plan to collect information as well from members and non-members in countries where transplantation is less well developed. After that, our strategic planning consultant will collate all of this information into a Findings Report which will be reviewed and discussed at the Board's October meeting.

As you can see, this process involves a lot of people doing a lot of hard work to help develop a framework for the Society's future. We are all looking forward to learning what the Findings Report has to say about what you, ISHLT's members, want and need and what aspirations for future directions you share in common.

Thank you again for all of your input. We will keep you updated through the LINKS on the progress of this important process.


Call for ISHLT Board of Directors Nominations

Dear Colleague:
I am writing to you in my capacity as Chair of the ISHLT Nominating Committee to solicit nominations for the ISHLT Board of Directors. We are seeking nominations for three (3) Director positions. Any current regular member (not a student/resident or emeritus member) may be nominated to serve as a Director. All terms are for 3 years. ISHLT is currently engaging in a Strategic Planning process that will help define the Society's course and identify key goals and objectives for the next 3-5 years. Read more →

Call for Abstracts: ISHLT 36th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions

links imageThe Abstract Submission System is now live on the ISHLT website at The deadline for receipt of abstracts is November 3, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST.

NEW THIS YEAR: the Main Menu page of the Abstract Submission Site offers three different link options for submitting an abstract: New Abstract Submission, New Junior Faculty Clinical Case Reports (JFCCR) Submission and New Late Breaking Clinical Science (LBCS) Submission. Read more →


It's "Child's Play"

Monica Horn, RN, CCRN, CCTC
Sally Baker, M. Ed, CCLS

Children express themselves through play. Pediatric healthcare professionals know that, but how do we help decrease fear and ease the pain of the technologically advanced therapies (mechanical assist devices/VADs and heart transplantation) we currently have available to treat all ages of children dying of advanced heart failure? Although the concept of Child Life (CL) has existed for decades, healthcare facilities' perceptions may have been that they were not able to budget yet another service. Presently, this service is considered a vital part of the multidisciplinary care model. In the midst of a potentially devastating part of a child and family's life, in steps the CL specialist, not only to promote emotional stability and healthy growth and development for this child, but also to teach their valuable techniques to the family and staff. Read more →

Mentoring: Not Just for Newbie Nurses

Jami Bennett, BSN, RN, CCRN, CCTC

links imageIt is unclear when exactly mentoring began within the profession of nursing. According to Hodgson and Scanlan, literature on the subject dates back to the 1980's, but Florence Nightingale could be considered a mentor to others early in the profession, dating back to the Crimean War. Mentoring amongst nurses is described as "a valued relationship, a nurturing process in which a more experienced person supports the professional growth and career development of another". The success in mentoring new nurses to increase retention has been documented in the literature as well as mentoring seasoned nurses for leadership roles. Read more →


Selexipag: The Next Major Advance in PAH Pharmacotherapy?

Jim Coons, PharmD, BCPS (AQ Cardiology)

links imageSelexipag is a first-in-class, orally available, selective agonist of the prostacyclin IP receptor. The IP receptor is one of 4 different types of prostanoid receptors found in the lungs and regulates vascular tone, platelet activation, and immunologic cell responses. The IP receptor is principally expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and platelets. Activation of the IP receptor triggers SMC vasodilation and inhibition of SMC proliferation and platelet aggregation. These effects are regulated through stimulation of adenylate cyclase and increases in plasma cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). Despite its similar mode of action to endogenous prostacyclin, selexipag is chemically and pharmacologically considered a non-prostanoid. A summary of its pharmacology and relevant pharmacokinetic properties are highlighted in Table 1. Read more →

Infection, Rejection, and Hypogammaglobulinemia: The Chicken or the Egg?

Tam Khuu, PharmD, BCPS

links imageIntravenous immune globulin (IVIG) products are derived from pooled human plasma from over tens of thousands of screened donors collected largely by private industry, which contributes to its limited availability and high cost. Nevertheless, demand for IVIG continues to increase, with greatest use in North America, Australia/New Zealand and Europe. Currently, the labelled indications for IVIG include treatment of primary immunodeficiency, acute/chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), prevention of bacterial infection in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients with hypogammaglobulinemia (HGG), and provision of passive immunity for hepatitis A, measles, rubella, and varicella in specific patients. Read more →

Clot Through the Heart...And You're to Blame?

Christa Kirk

links imageUsing heparin for ventricular assist devices (VAD) is like a great song from the 1980's. You're really happy it's on but you know it's going to get a little hairy. Preventing device thrombosis can definitely cause a lot of head banging as well. The risks of bleeding and clotting are both present; however, the need to maintain device patency and prevent embolic sequelae must be tempered by the risks associated with bleeding. Device thrombosis was previously thought to be of minor concern; however, recent data has shown the rate is increasing. Starling and colleagues reported a significant increase in thromboses from 2.2% - 8.4% in three large U.S. centers. Additionally, data analyzed from INTERMACS highlighted that time to thrombosis, from device implantation, has decreased from 18.6 to 2.7 months. Read more →


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ISHLT Members in the News

Some of our ISHLT members from all over the world have been found in the news this month, including Nathaniel Langer and Stuart Sweet from the United States. Read more →


From Old Rough and Ready to the Bachelor and the Tennessee Tailor: Out of Ineptness, Compromises, Know Nothings and Do Nothings comes a Pediatric Handbook and the Great Emancipator

Vincent Valentine, MD

links imageZachary Taylor of Montebello, Virginia and born on November 24, 1784 was a lifelong military leader. He joined the Kentucky militia as a teenager and distinguished himself in Indian campaigns as well as the War of 1812 against the British. Because of his military prowess, disheveled appearance and unsophisticated manners he was known as "Old Rough and Ready." It was the result of the Mexican War that established him as a national hero in 1848. He had driven the Mexican army from Texas and captured the impregnable city of Monterrey, Mexico in 1846. Although his troops were outnumbered four to one, he defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista in 1847. He was compared to George Washington and Andrew Jackson. When the possibility of presidency came up, Taylor stated, "such an idea never entered my head nor is it likely to enter the head of any sane person." Read more →


Vincent G Valentine, MD

Editorial Staff

"I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize it is almost over."
— Oliver Sacks

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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.