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Epidemiological patterns of cardiac disease differ between developed countries and African nations. Despite the collaborative efforts of developed countries, several obstacles hinder the implementation of successful programmes for the management of children with heart disease in Africa.
Materials and methods
This study is a retrospective analysis of a bi-national two-institution partnership programme for the treatment of children with congenital and acquired heart disease. In April, 2011, a continuous medical-surgical programme was inaugurated at Clínica Girassol in Luanda. The main goals were to initiate permanent and local delivery of services while training local teams, allowing autonomous medical and surgical management of children with heart disease.
Between April, 2011 and August, 2015, a total of 1766 procedures were performed on 1682 children. Of them, 1539 had CHD and 143 had acquired heart disease; 94 children underwent interventional treatment. A total of 1672 paediatric surgeries were performed on 1588 children: 1087 (65%) were performed with extracorporeal circulation and 585 (35%) were off-pump. The age distribution of the children was 4.5% (n=76) neonatal, 40.4% (n=675) between 30 days and 1 year, and 55.1% (n=921) over 1 year. There were 76 re-operations (4.5%) due to complications. The 30-day mortality rate was 4.2% (71 patients). Education-wise, several Angolan medical and surgical specialists were trained, allowing near-autonomous cardiac care delivery in children with heart disease.
An innovative cooperation model between a European and an African centre based on permanent delivery of care and education allowed for effective training of local teams and treatment of children with heart disease in their own environment.
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