Stress on improving child heart surgery outcome

June 27, 2016 12:00 am | Updated October 18, 2016 02:42 pm IST - KOCHI

: India has the largest burden of heart disease among children with 2 lakh children born every year with congenital heart defects (CHD). In Kerala, CHD was a leading cause of infant mortality.

Congenital heart defect may account for between 3-10 per cent of infant mortality in many parts of India. Most CHD can be prevented through timely intervention. However, only 10 per cent of the affected infants with serious heart disease receive timely intervention. In all probability, the remaining 90 per cent children do not survive.

This was the observation of leading cardiologists and cardiac surgeons who had gathered for a two-day session of the International Quality Improvement Collaborative (IQIC) on congenital heart surgery at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences here.

Low-cost quality improvement techniques such as preventing hospital-acquired infections through hand-hygiene, empowering nurses for better communication with patients’ concerns and conducting mortality meetings would improve outcomes of child heart surgery than expensive new technology and equipment in developing countries, they said.

Paediatric cardiologist and surgeons from India, the U.S., Pakistan, Malaysia and Vietnam participated in the two-day session that began on Friday.

Infection control

Surgical safety check-list and infection control measures make a big difference, said Dr. Krishna Kumar, Head of Department of Paediatric Cardiology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences. A number of mental barriers may have to be initially overcome to successfully engage all stakeholders, he added.

Kathy Jenkins, Head, Paediatric Cardiology, Boston Children’s Hospital and Professor at Harvard Medical School said the IQIC project helps doctors and nurses work together so that babies with heart disease can live.

Among the many reasons for high mortality in children with CHD, lack of awareness among doctors stood out. Most paediatricians receive little or no training in paediatric cardiology because there are very few paediatric cardiac programmes in the country. Despite subsidies, paediatric cardiac care is too expensive for the average Indian family. Hence simple, low-cost quality improvements would drastically improve outcomes, she said.

Congenital heart defects is one of

the leading causes of infant mortality in

the State.

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