2.5 lakh children are born with cardiac problems every year
Thrissur: Bharat V. Dalvi, a senior Mumbai-based paediatric cardiologist, has urged hospitals to provide treatment at affordable cost to children with heart diseases.
He was one of the main speakers at a workshop held here on Saturday on the eve of the annual conference of the Kerala chapter of the Cardiological Society of India.
He told The Hindu that paediatric cardiology treatment in the country was urban-centric and most families, especially those in rural areas, could not afford it.
“Both the public and private sector should think of offering treatment to infants free or at low cost through a coordinated national programme.”
Eight to ten out of 1,000 newborn infants in the country had cardiac disorders, he stated.
“Every year, 2.5 lakh children are born with cardiac problems. Of these, around 80,000 infants require special treatment, including surgeries.
“Currently, the country has the infrastructure to treat only about 3,000 infants. “As many as 70,000 cases go untreated...because the diseases are not diagnosed,” he said.
He said that only the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology had meaningful paediatric cardiology programmes among Government bodies.
“The private sector too should pay more attention to this discipline. Central and Eastern India lack in proper facilities for treatment. The country is yet to conduct a comprehensive survey of paediatric cardiology cases. We rely on western surveys for statistics.”
He noted that people should be aware of the symptoms of heart diseases in infants. “If the infant looks bluish, cries unduly or is excessively lethargic, parents should alert doctors. As many as 85 per cent of cases can be cured with one-time surgery.”
Dr. Dalvi was formerly a Fellow in Paediatric Cardiology at Children's Hospital in Boston, Honorary Registrar in Paediatric Cardiology at Hospital for Sick Children in London and Visiting Fellow in the Paediatric Cardiology Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
He specialises in transcatheter interventions in newborns, including balloon atrial septostomy, balloon valvuloplasties, balloon coarctoplasty, stenting of aorta and homografts.