Catheter interventions for congenital heart disease in third world countries

Pediatr Cardiol. 2005 May-Jun;26(3):241-9. doi: 10.1007/s00246-005-1005-5.


The term "Third World" loosely encompasses a group of middle- and low-income countries. Considerable differences exist in health care delivery and health indices among these countries. The vast majority of children in the Third World do not have health insurance for congential heart disease (CHD). Catheter interventions for CHD are expensive because of installation costs of expensive biplane equipment, the requirement of dedicated personnel, and the need to stock a large inventory of expensive hardware. As a result, many catheter intervention procedures are beyond the reach of the average patient in the developing world. The following cost-effective strategies have evolved in selected institutions that have attempted to perform catheter interventions for CHD at an affordable cost: sharing of space, equipment, and support personnel with a busy adult cardiology program; use of single plane equipment; the development of sedation protocols to reduce the need for anesthesiologists; strategies to reduce procedure time; reuse of hardware through ethylene oxide sterilization; improvisations to use adult hardware items for CHD interventions; judicious case selection; and improvised alternatives to occlusive devices. These strategies may help reduce costs and allow a larger proportion of patients in developing countries with CHD to undergo interventions. However, the safety of these strategies and the cost savings need to be carefully evaluated prospectively.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia / economics
  • Cardiac Catheterization / economics*
  • Catheter Ablation / economics
  • Child
  • Child Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Equipment and Supplies / economics
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance, Health