Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital celebrates record cardiac procedures on children in Western India
~ Celebrates 5,000 cardiac procedures with week-long event – ‘Our Heart Heroes’ ~
~ Over 70% surgeries conducted on children from underprivileged backgrounds and marginalised society; rarest of rare cases successfully conducted ~
Mumbai October 3, 2015: The Children’s Heart Centre (CHC) at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) today announced the successful completion of 5,000 cardiac procedures on children, of which close to 70% cases were conducted on children (~3,500 children)from underprivileged backgrounds and marginalised society. This is a rare and record achievement in the Western India region. Indeed, CHC has emerged as the largest centre in the state of Maharashtra and Western India on the whole for surgical and interventional treatment of newborns and children with heart ailments.
To mark this achievement, the hospital observed a week-long celebration under the aegis of ‘Our Heart Heroes’– an event which saw the coming together of patients (children), parents, doctors and donors to mark this milestone achievement. The event aimed to spread further awareness about the facilities at CHC and treatment modalities at KDAH along with felicitating everyone involved in the achievement.
“With a population of 1.2 billion and a perceived incidence of congenital heart defects in 1 in 100 live births and a birth rate of 28 million per year; nearly 200,000 to 250,000 babies with these defects are born every year in India, adding to the already burgeoning pool of untreated children with heart ailments. Of these, nearly 60,000 to 90,000 suffer from critical lesions requiring early intervention or surgery in new-born age or infancy. With currently available facilities and treatment modalities at CHC in KDAH, nearly 90% or more of these children with congenital heart defects can now survive beyond the first year of life, and a majority can lead a near normal childhood and life thereafter,” said Dr Suresh Rao Director, Children’s Heart Centre, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.
Dr Rao further added, “Approximately 10% of the present infant mortality in India is accounted for by congenital heart defects alone, ranking it fairly high as one of the important causes of infant mortality that can be reduced with timely treatment.
Indeed, in India, less than 2 per cent of total neonates and infants requiring surgery or interventions actually receive optimal treatment, owing to late referral, logistic problems in reaching a specialised centre, lack of finances and many other obstacles. Even among these fortunate 2 per cent of infants, many develop infections in transit that deter them from having early corrective surgery on reaching the centres. The remaining 98 per cent of neonates and infants born with congenital heart disease probably do not survive, including those with potentially correctable lesions.
Prior to the establishment of CHC at KDAH, children with congenital heart defects had to be deflected to southern India or Delhi owing to the presence of specialised centres in these regions; many couldn’t afford the attached costs. In fact, a dedicated and specialised paediatric cardiac centre is recommended for every 5 million population by the American College of Cardiology. Thus, India needs 200 paediatric cardiac care centres whereas there are just a little over a dozen in operation.
The enormous statistics on infant mortality owing to congenital heart defects and the lack of world-class infrastructure to treat such cases in Mumbai was a driving factor behind the establishment of CHC at KDAH. “Our children are our greatest treasure, yet we continue to lose so many to cardiac ailments as only a fraction have access to comprehensive care and treatment owing to geographic distance as well as the high costs involved, said Tina Ambani, Chairperson, Kokilaben Hospital. “That’s why it was vital for us to bridge this critical gap. Every little heart is given its best chance to mend here.”
With a full-time practice system at KDAH and a competent team of doctors attending to these sick children 24/7, the world-class, fully dedicated CHC has proven capable of handling every kind of cardiac problem in children across all ages, not only from Mumbai and Maharashtra but all over Western India. And given Mumbai’s connectivity, the centre has not only catered to children from the Western Region but also in increasing numbers nationally from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, and internationally from Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Hong Kong.
Equally significant, CHC caters to children from all sections of society. More than 70 per cent of children who have undergone paediatric cardiac surgeries—i.e. over 3,500 children—have been from the lower socioeconomic classes needing financial assistance. CHC prides itself in not having refused surgical or other treatment for any child based on affordability, and has gone out of its way to subsidise treatment, or even provide it free of charge if the need arose. Close to four to five children a week are treated by surgery or by intervention at an extreme concession or free of charge, largely through the CSR initiative of KDAH, NGOs like Rotary and other philanthropic organizations. While a few state governments have begun schemes for partial funding of these cardiac surgeries for BPL categories, subsidies continue to be required to defray the actual cost of treatment. A large number of middle-class families are not covered under these schemes and hence remain the most affected.
Dr Ram Narain, Executive Director, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, added, “Congenital heart surgery and interventions are very resource-intensive and expensive. An elaborate infrastructure and highly skilled and specialised personnel are needed to ensure excellence in outcomes—that’s what we offer at KDAH. The centre has distinguished itself and made a place for itself nationally as a tertiary/quarternary care centre for congenital heart care that regularly performs complex cardiac surgical corrections such as arterial switch operations, Norwood procedures, and repairs of obstructed TAPVC in newborns to name a few, along with other complex cardiological interventions and corrective surgeries in older children.” Indeed, with a success rate of over 96 per cent, CHC matches advanced centres in Boston and Philadelphia in the US, which have a success rate of around 96-98 per cent or more.