About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us

Access to Timely Care Reduces Childhood Heart Disease Death

Font : A-A+

Access to Timely Care Reduces Childhood Heart Disease Death


  • Congenital heart disease is the most common of all birth defects, occurring in about nine per 1000 livebirths globally.
  • When there is a problem in the structure of the heart that is present at birth, it is referred to as congenital heart defect.
  • Developing local expertise for treating children with heart disease has ripple effects in reducing the risk of death due to heart disease.
  • Over one million children are born with congenital heart disease (CHD) each year. When children with CHD receive timely treatment, 85% can survive into adulthood to live healthy, productive lives.

    The cause of most cases of congenital heart disease is unknown and the rate of disease is fairly stable across countries and populations, making the burden heaviest on low-income countries with high fertility rates.


Although overall child mortality has decreased by half globally, death and disability due to congenital heart disease has consistently increased in low-income and middle-income countries over the past two decades. Access to care for children with heart disease has not kept pace.

Sadly, 90% of the children with CHD live in poor regions with little or no access to care. Congenital heart disease and other serious birth defects are among the top five causes of death of children worldwide.

Children's HeartLink calls for the needs of children with heart disease to be included in efforts to strengthen health systems around the word. Specifically, priorities must be made to build a pediatric cardiac workforce, collect data on CHD in national health surveys and cause of child death statistics, and finance health coverage in a way that protects families from impoverishment when they seek care.

Brian Atwood, former Administrator of USAID, urges leaders in global health and development: "Increasing access to pediatric cardiac care is a lofty but not insurmountable goal. It is an achievable goal, grounded in health system sustainability and equity. It will save children's lives."

Furthermore, individuals with congenital heart defects need lifelong care and follow-up from primary care specialists, special attention to dental care, and, in many cases, more surgical interventions from trained health professionals.

Caring for children with heart disease is not a dilemma of investing in tertiary versus primary health care. Paediatric cardiac success is possible in low-resource settings when incorporated in broader health systems strengthening efforts. Results from 27 centres in low-income and middle-income countries representing all continents, except for Africa, that participated in the International Quality Improvement Collaborative for Congenital Heart Surgery in Developing World Countries (IQIC) show that when international investments and training partnerships support such efforts, substantial reductions in infection and mortality rates can be achieved.

Since the turn of the millennium, child deaths have been cut in half thanks to improved public health and poverty reduction efforts. It is predicted that the number will halve again by 2030. This target will not be met without addressing congenital heart disease. As the overall rate of child deaths decreases, the burden of children born with heart disease will become more apparent.

An estimated 58% of congenital heart disease burden could be averted if surgical practices of high-income countries were brought to scale in low-income and middle-income countries.

Reliable data on the burden of congenital heart disease would better allow countries and the global health community to allocate resources to the child health needs in their communities. As countries develop economically, the burden of poverty-related diseases, especially infectious diseases and nutritional deficiencies, in children younger than 5 years diminishes.

Developing local expertise for treating children with heart disease has ripple effects to other health services. Paediatric cardiac surgery interfaces with many other specialties in a hospital. Investments in paediatric cardiac surgery can, therefore, lead to parallel improvements elsewhere in a hospital.

  1. Bistra Zheleva, The invisible child: childhood heart disease in global health, The Lancet (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)32185-7.

Source: Medindia

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Julia Samuel. (2016, December 17). Access to Timely Care Reduces Childhood Heart Disease Death. Medindia. Retrieved on Sep 24, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/access-to-timely-care-reduces-childhood-heart-disease-death-166225-1.htm.

  • MLA

    Julia Samuel. "Access to Timely Care Reduces Childhood Heart Disease Death". Medindia. Sep 24, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/access-to-timely-care-reduces-childhood-heart-disease-death-166225-1.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Julia Samuel. "Access to Timely Care Reduces Childhood Heart Disease Death". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/access-to-timely-care-reduces-childhood-heart-disease-death-166225-1.htm. (accessed Sep 24, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Julia Samuel. 2021. Access to Timely Care Reduces Childhood Heart Disease Death. Medindia, viewed Sep 24, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/access-to-timely-care-reduces-childhood-heart-disease-death-166225-1.htm.


News A-Z
What's New on Medindia
Test Your Knowledge About Chromosomes?
Eating During Sunlight Hours Minimizes Mood Vulnerabilities
Know More About the Digestive System
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cardiac Catheterization Heart Attack Air travel: To fly or not to fly Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Body Mass Index Silent Killer Diseases Death Facts Heart Healthy Heart Lifestyle Paths to Prevent Heart Disease 

Most Popular on Medindia

Color Blindness Calculator Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Drug Interaction Checker Post-Nasal Drip Sanatogen Daily Calorie Requirements Noscaphene (Noscapine) Iron Intake Calculator Find a Doctor Accident and Trauma Care
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use

Access to Timely Care Reduces Childhood Heart Disease Death Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests