The Canadian Liver Meeting, held in Montreal Feb 27-Mar 1, 2020, is a unique collaborative meeting of the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver (CASL), the Canadian Network on Hepatitis C (CanHepC) and the Canadian Association of Hepatology Nurses (CAHN). It provides an incredible opportunity for our colleagues to share what is happening in the field of liver health through various liver focused organizations.

Click to open the photo gallery

Friday’s 9th annual Canadian symposium on Hepatitis C virus (CanHepC) was a combination of biomedical (HCV vaccine development) social, cultural, environmental and population health research – HCV in underserviced populations, along with a community session: “CONNECTING WITH CARE” with moving and poignant videos and panel discussion. This was followed by clinical research: Hep C in pregnancy and children. Dr. Jordan Felds and Lisa Barrett provided an update on more specifics of the rollout of the Hep C blueprint, great success in PEI, and great breakdown with a much more optimistic view that Canada is indeed on track for elimination for 2030.

On Friday evening, following the Canadian Liver Meeting opening remarks, Andrew Aronsohn, University of Chicago, presented a very interesting comparison between what’s happening in the United States compared to Canada in regards to Hepatitis C elimination strategies.

Saturday morning sessions began with cirrhosis-nutrition and the management of renal failure in this population. Concurrent sessions included global epidemiology of liver disease, Hep C vaccine development and the challenges, as well as NAFLD diagnosis and management. These were followed by novel liver imaging and biomarkers in liver disease along with transitioning of care from pediatrics to adult, epidemiology of HBV and the impact of dosing vaccine at birth, finishing with identifying and managing sexual dysfunction in patients with cirrhosis. 

Afternoon sessions included oral presentations and a symposium on alcohol-related liver disease.

The CAHN sessions were divided into morning and afternoon sessions. Morning speakers came out with a bang, discussing ways nurses manage triage of liver patients (Sarah De Coutere, NP and Tracy Davyduke, RN), followed by insights into the incredible work our nurses are doing in the field as it applies to fatty liver disease (Wendy Schaufert, RN), managing decompensated liver disease (Lindsay Myles, NP), and criteria for a patient with HCC moving forward to liver transplant, (Susan Allen, NP). 

Our afternoon session showcased nurse-led models and novel ways to deliver liver health care. Thanks to Cheryl Dale, who stepped in at the last minute due to train disruptions making it not possible for our scheduled speaker, Emmit O’Reilly, to present (next year, Emmit). Shelly Archibald, RN, presented on challenges and successes of delivering hep C treatment to a community in northern Ontario. Julie Campbell, NP, gave a frank and riveting presentation on MAID and how it can be appropriately utilized in our patient population. In what has now become a CAHN tradition, we ended our session with a witty, informative, hilarious and friendly debate between the esteemed Drs. Lisa Barrett and Hemant Shah: be it resolved, that individuals with acute hepatitis C be treated immediately with no delay in order to meet Canadian targets for hepatitis C elimination. Although no winner was declared, we all won by being there!

We listened to our membership evaluation comments from previous conferences and had a great mixer after the debate so we could socialize and network with our colleagues from across the country.

Our AGM Sunday morning highlighted the great work CAHN is involved in. We continue to be led by our president, Donna Zukowski, who works tirelessly for our association, along with the executive and board of directors – all volunteer positions. Congrats to our elected board members, as well as all those who won CAHN awards. Please consider becoming involved. You will be enriched by it!

Nurse Program Presentations

Determining fibrosis for triage – Sarah De Coutere, NP-MN, Nova Scotia Health Authority

RN-based referral triage – Tracy Davyduke, RN, MS, Alberta Health Services

The Skinny on Fatty Liver Management: Brief rationale for the recommendations – Wendy Schaufert, RN, Alberta Health Services

Community Management of Decompensated Cirrhosis – Lindsay Myles, NP-PHC, Barrie & Community Family Health Team & Liver Care Canada

Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Screening to Liver Transplant and Everything in Between – Susan Allen, NP-MScN, Nova Scotia Health Authority

HCV community treatment in Northern Ontario – Shelly Archibald, RN, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) – Julie Campbell, MBA, NP-PHC, South West Local Health Integration Network, Ontario