The Euro Heart Survey on Adult Congenital Heart Disease published recently in the European Heart Journal speaks of the dwindling quality of adult heart care and the extent of its deficiency, in Europe. The only silver lining is the improvement in the treatment of pediatric heart diseases that has increased the survival rates among children.
The research into this area warranted a threadbare study to gauge the requirements of the patients and list the deficient areas. 71 centers from four countries participated in the survey and filled in questionnaires regarding the facilities available for heart care in their centers. According to the researchers, it was necessary to have in place, eight enlisted infrastructure and facilities, to be able to adequately support care for adult heart diseases.
The study was a real eye-opener, when it revealed that of the 48 specialist centers in the survey, les than one fifth of them actually met with all the eight mandated requirements.
Dr Philip Moons, assistant professor at the Centre for Health Services and Nursing Research of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, who led the research said: "We can definitely say that the provision of care overall is suboptimal and there is much room for improvement. As participation in the survey was voluntary, it's likely that only the most motivated and active centers completed our questionnaire, so our results may actually mask the real situation. Certainly, our findings suggest that the number of adequately equipped centers is too limited to support the more than 1.2m adults with congenital heart disease in Europe."
According to Dr Moons, a concerted effort by governments, health ministers and healthcare providers is needed, to spruce up the quality of heart care for adults in Europe, which will go a long way in improving the survival rates of the disease.