Special Correspondent

  • Heart patients are classified into three groups: child, adult and GUCHs
  • Transition from paediatric to adult stage needs careful handling

    BANGALORE: Children with congenital heart defects can today be treated to lead normal lives. But cardiologists are faced with heart-related complications those in their late teens and early adulthood develop. These need special care and there simply are not enough doctors trained to deal with them.

    The number of young adults with congenital heart disease has increase by 25 per cent this decade.

    By 2010, there will be more patients above age 16 than younger, undergoing heart surgery. As many as one in five young adults with congenital heart disease may be dying because they are not being given the special care they need.

    Jane Somerville of the United Kingdowm has classified these young adults as GUCHS or Grown Ups with Congenital Hearts. Dr. Somerville, who was in India at the invitation of Wockhardt Hospitals, said: "Heart patients can be classified into three groups, the child, the adult and GUCHs, those in the age group of 16 to 19. They have special needs and the transition from the paediatric to adult setting needs careful handling''. These young adults have to be treated by doctors and nurses familiar with their needs and most will require regular follow-ups for life, she said.

    Training session

    Dr. Somerville conducted here a training session with paediatricians of Bangalore and Mumbai and shared her knowledge. About 150 paediatricians were present. "India has a large number of patients in the GUCH category and specialised GUCH centre are needed. Bangalore alone may require two such centres," Dr. Somerville said.

    Consultant Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon Dev Anand said Wockhardt Hospitals have taken the first step in that direction by setting up an exclusive paediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery programme.