Aortic Nurses Symposium 2024

Bringing together patients, nurses, and healthcare professionals to explore the vital role of aortic nurses. The event featured moving personal stories, expert-led sessions on aortic care and valuable networking opportunities.


June 2024


The pivotal role of aortic nurses in patient care


The King's Fund, London

The King’s Fund in London hosted the Aortic Nurses Symposium, an event that brought together a diverse group of patients, nurses, and healthcare professionals. This symposium, dedicated to exploring the vital role of aortic nurses, provided a platform for sharing knowledge, personal experiences, and the latest advances in aortic care. The event was characterised by its informative sessions, networking opportunities and a profound sense of community.

Personal Stories at the Centre

The day began with an emotional presentation by Theresa and Emily Mickleburgh, who shared their family journey through aortic dissection. Their story highlighted the critical support provided by aortic nurses during recovery. Emily recounted how the expertise and empathy of the nurse were instrumental in her sister’s recovery. This personal account set a poignant tone for the symposium, reminding all of the real-life impacts of their work.

Key Learnings and Insights

The symposium featured a range of sessions that delved into the multifaceted aspects of aortic care. Prof John Elefteriades (Yale Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease), a leading figure in aortic surgery, emphasised the crucial role of aortic nurses in managing patient care in the USA. His presentation underscored the importance of specialised training and the need for continuous professional development.

Presentations by Amit Modi (University Hospital Southampton) and Prof Colin Bicknell (Imperial College Healthcare) on Type A and Type B dissections provided attendees with a deeper understanding of these conditions. Their insights into surgical techniques and patient management strategies were particularly valuable for nurses seeking to enhance their clinical skills.

Úna Ahearn (Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital), an advanced nursing practitioner, discussed the importance of follow-up care. She addressed the ongoing responsibilities of aortic nurses in monitoring patient health post-treatment. This session was a stark reminder of the long-term nature of aortic care and the necessity of consistent, thorough follow-up.

Aortic Nurses Symposium

The Role of Exercise and Psychological Support

Exercise and lifestyle management were also key topics at the symposium. Martin Hilton, known for his inspiring journey as an “Aortic Ironman,” alongside Dr Bejal Pandya (Barts Health), provided evidence-based advice on physical activities suitable for patients with aortic conditions. Their session underlined the role of exercise in improving patient outcomes and quality of life.

The psychological impacts of aortic diseases were addressed by Dr Mark Griffiths (Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital) and Valérie Lechene. Their discussion focused on the emotional challenges faced by patients and their families. They emphasised the need for psychological support as an integral part of aortic care, advocating for more resources and training in this area.

Networking and Professional Development

A standout feature of the symposium was the networking opportunities. Attendees valued the chance to meet and interact with peers, sharing experiences and strategies for improving patient care. The interactive round-table discussions facilitated deeper dives into specific topics, fostering an environment of collaborative learning.

Feedback from participants highlighted the significance of these networking sessions. Many noted that understanding the different facets of the aortic team and learning from others’ experiences were among the most important takeaways from the event. The opportunity to connect with other professionals in the field was seen as invaluable for personal and professional growth.

Future Direction

The symposium also sparked discussions on future initiatives. There was strong support for TADCT  to continue to develop this initiative. Participants expressed enthusiasm for continued educational opportunities through webinars, recognising the importance of staying updated with the latest advancements in aortic care.

The idea of organising annual face-to-face meetings received positive feedback, with many attendees appreciating the value of in-person conferences. Such meetings were seen as crucial for maintaining a sense of community and for the continued sharing of knowledge and best practices

Aortic Nurses Symposium

Call for Resources and Multidisciplinary Collaboration

Participants also called for better resources and support systems, including funding and staffing, to facilitate these initiatives. The need for psychological support for patients and families was a recurring theme, with many advocating for more comprehensive care that includes emotional and mental health resources.

Additionally, there was a suggestion to involve different specialties, such as vascular and cardiology, in future symposiums. This multidisciplinary approach was seen as essential for providing holistic care to patients with aortic conditions, ensuring that all aspects of their health are addressed.

A Collaborative Milestone in Aortic Care

The Aortic Nurses Symposium 2024 was a breakthrough event, providing a comprehensive and compassionate exploration of aortic care. It highlighted the indispensable role of aortic nurses, not only in managing physical health but also in providing emotional support to patients and their families. The symposium fostered a sense of community, collaboration, and ongoing professional development.

As attendees left The King’s Fund, there was a shared sense of optimism and determination to implement the insights gained from the event. The symposium affirmed the commitment of aortic nurses to improving patient care and underscored the importance of continuous learning and collaboration in the ever-evolving field of aortic diseases.

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