Biennial meeting of the AEPC working group on neurodevelopment and psychosocial care, from fetus to adult

03 OTTOBRE 2023

*(pagina aggiornata il 22 gennaio 2024)

The Working Group “Neurodevelopment and Psychosocial Care from Fetus to Adult” of the Association for European Paediatric and Congenital Cardiology (AEPC) is delighted to invite you to their biennial conference, taking place from the 13th to the 15th of March 2024, at the IRCCS Policlinico San Donato Hospital in Milan, Italy.


For patient representatives

The European Congenital Heart Disease Organisation’s Annual General Meeting will follow our congress, at the same venue, starting around 15:00 on the 15th of March and will finish late afternoon on the 16th of March.


Congress general information

The conference is an important platform for Paediatric Cardiologists, Paediatricians, Psychologists, Nurses, Neonatologists, Cardiac Surgeons, Intensivists, Neurologists, and other healthcare professionals and international patients and parent organisations in the field of congenital heart defects.

This multidisciplinary meeting offers many opportunities to interact and exchange new insights and to share perspectives on the needs for the future in both clinical practice and scientific research.

The programme includes a young investigators competition for the best abstracts.

The themes that will be emphasised during this meeting are:

  • Fetal/neonatal counselling;
  • Neurodevelopmental outcomes after congenital heart surgery;
  • Psychosocial and neuropsychological functioning among different age groups;
  • Psychosocial interventions and initiatives in the non-profit/association sector;
  • Transition, sports lifestyle and fitness.

For information on the scientific profile and the international fields of cooperation of the AEPC Working Group please visit the AEPC website: .



The conference places emphasis on the neurodevelopmental facets and psychosocial care of individuals with congenital heart defects (CHD) and their families throughout their lives. Among the issues addressed will be the diverse forms of stress, from daily challenges to more severe manifestations such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Recognizing the intricate nature of CHD care, we underscore the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration. This collaboration not only bridges healthcare professionals from various fields, but also integrates the invaluable insights of patient representatives, ensuring a comprehensive and patient-centric approach.

The conference will feature experts in paediatric cardiology, psychology and psychotraumatology, neurodevelopment and congenital heart disease advocacy, all renowned for their contributions and leadership in their fields.

The preliminary programme will be circulated following the acceptance of the abstracts, which will be communicated on the 15th of January 2024. We eagerly await your presence in Milan!


Call for abstracts now open!

We invite authors, including representatives from patient family organizations, to submit abstracts for presentation at this conference. Abstracts can encompass both scientific research and clinical care related to the neurodevelopmental and psychosocial aspects of congenital heart defects, spanning from fetus to adults. We particularly encourage patient family organizations to share insights on programs, initiatives, or experiences that resonate with the themes emphasized during this meeting, such as fetal/neonatal counseling, neurodevelopmental outcomes, transition facets, and broader psychosocial care strategies.

There will be an award for the best abstract presented by a Young Investigator (age 35 or under). The winner will receive €600 after the conference, and an additional €600 upon publication of the work in a peer-reviewed journal. Those who submit abstracts need to indicate at that time whether they wish to be considered for the Young Investigator Award. The Scientific Committee will make the decision about the winner after the presentations at the conference.

Abstract Submission

Authors submitting abstracts for presentation at this conference should consider the following:

  1. Abstracts should contain the following structure: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Conclusions.
  2. Titles should be indicative of the content of the abstract, without abbreviations in the title.
  3. Abbreviations may be used in the body text, if they are defined at their first mention.
  4. The combined length of the abstract body text should not exceed 250 words.
  5. By submitting an abstract for consideration, the Authors confirm that, if the abstract will be accepted for a presentation, the Author or co-author/presenter will register for and attend the conference.
  6. Submission: Abstracts should be submitted to with “Abstract AEPC 2024” in the subject heading.
  7. The members of the Scientific Committee will review the abstracts.
  8. Authors will be informed about the acceptance of their abstract by the 15th of January 2024.

Deadline abstract submission: 30th of November 2023 (midnight of GMT time)


Registration information

The participation fee (VAT included) is:

  • Early bird fee (until 1/2/2024):
    • Health professionals (includes Medical Doctors and Psychologists): 350€
    • Nurses, Social Workers and Students: 310€,
    • Patients and parents (includes Patient Representatives and Non-profit Staff): 290€ 
  • Normal (from the 2/2/2024):
    • Health professionals (includes Medical Doctors and Psychologists): 375€,
    • Nurses, Social Workers and Students: 325€
    • Patients and parents (includes Patient Representatives and Non-profit Staff): 290€

Coffee/tea breaks, business lunch on Thursday and Friday, and dinner aperitif on Thursday are included. All other meals and accommodation are not included in the price.

Here is the registration link:

For any queries regarding registration, please write to:

For general queries and event information, please contact the Scientific Director, Dr. Edward Callus, at   or call +390252774645.


Scientific Committee and Support Committee


  • Edward Callus (1, 2)
  • Massimo Chessa (1, 3)
  • Alessandro Giamberti (1)
  • Rosario Caruso (1, 2)
  • Giuseppe Isgrò (1)
  • Isabel Fernandez (4)

1. IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, Milan, Italy
2. University of Milan, Milan, Italy
3. Università San Raffaele, Milan
4. Psychotraumatology Center in Milan, Italy


  • Frank Casey (1,2)
  • Katya De Groote (3)
  • Elisabeth Utens (4, 5)
  • Amy Verstappen (6)

1. Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, Northern Ireland
2. Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland
3. Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium
4. Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
5. University of Amsterdam/de Bascule, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
6. Global Alliance for Rheumatic and Congenital Hearts, USA

Committee of Support:

  • Alessia Spina, Event Manager, Scientific Directorate IRCCS Policlinico San Donato
  • Giovanna Campioni, CEO of Associazione Italiana Cardiopatici Congeniti Adulti (AICCA) and Association Staff
  • Clinical Psychology Service staff, IRCCS Policlinico San Donato


Direction to the IRCCS Policlinico San Donato

Airports in Milan:

  • Linate Airport (LIN):
    • By Metro: Take the M4 line from Linate to San Babila. From San Babila, switch to the M1 line and travel to Duomo. At Duomo, switch to the M3 Yellow Line and travel to San Donato Metro.
    • By Taxi: Linate is approximately 11 minutes by taxi from the hospital. Estimated taxi fare: €15-€20.
  • Malpensa Airport (MXP):
    • By Train: Take the "Malpensa Express" train to Centrale Metro Station which is on the M3 Yellow Line and travel to San Donato Metro.
    • By Taxi: Estimated taxi fare from Malpensa to the hospital: €70-€90.
  • Orio al Serio Airport (BGY):
    • By Bus: The airport is connected by bus to the Centrale Metro Station which is on the M3 Yellow Line and travel to San Donato Metro.
    • By Taxi: Estimated taxi fare from Orio al Serio to the hospital: €80-€100.

After arriving at the San Donato metro station exit the metro gates to the left (Lato Paulese). After, you can catch one of the following buses to reach the hospital: C Rossa, C Blu, 130, and 132 which will take you in front of the hospital’s old entrance in Via Morandi.

For MXP and BGY you can also travel to Centrale Metro Station and catch a taxi to IRCCS Policlinico San Donato. Estimated taxi fare from Centrale to the hospital: €20-€30.

Taxi rates were calculated with and may vary based on traffic conditions, time of day, and other factors.

Public Transport Payment Information:

  1. Contactless Payment: On all Azienda Trasporti Milanesi (ATM) vehicles, you can directly pay for your ticket using contactless cards and devices from the circuits Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Maestro, and VPay.
  2. ATM App: Purchase various types of tickets, such as single rides, daily tickets, or a 10-trip pass. Payment methods include credit card, PayPal, or Satispay.
  3. SMS Ticketing: Buy a ticket by sending an SMS to 48444 with the text “ATM”. The ticket priced at €2.20 is valid for 90 minutes for traveling in Milan and neighbouring municipalities (tariff zone Mi1-Mi3). The hospital is in the Mi3 area.
  4. Metro Stations and Authorized Dealers: Tickets are available at automatic distributors in metro stations and at newsstands and authorized dealers.



The Hotel Santa Babara is the closest to the hospital and it has offered specific rates for the congress. Please write to: indicating AEPC2024 in the correspondence. The hotel has provided the following prices for the period of the congress and the ECHDO AGM meeting:

  • From the 12th to the 14th of March: Single room € 105; Double room – single use € 120; Double/twin room for two people € 125.
  • From the 15th to the 17th of March: Single room € 80; Double room – single use € 90; Double room for two people € 95.

If you plan to arrive before the 12th or after the 17th of March, please inquire with the hotel about the prices as they vary based on the day of the week. These prices will be valid until the 23rd of February 2024.

Other lodging alternatives in San Donato Milanese, close to the hospital are:

Another possibility is to book more centrally in Milan and make your way to the hospital by metro and bus or taxi.

Looking forward to seeing you all next year in Milan!

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