Background: This study was undertaken to review the spectrum and surgical outcome of adolescents and adults with congenitally malformed hearts from January, 1993 to December, 2008. The lack of data on this emerging problem from the West African sub-region prompted this report.
Patients and method: This retrospective study is based on 135 adolescents and adults with congenitally malformed hearts. A review of their case notes and operative records was carried out and results analysed.
Results: Selected patients made up 23% of all congenital cardiac surgeries performed at our institution in the same period. A total of 23 patients (17%) were non-Ghanaian West Africans. There was a female preponderance of 53.3%. The ages ranged from 16 to 70 years (mean 28.6 plus or minus 10.3 years). The mean follow-up was 7.5 plus or minus 4.4 years. Patients were functionally classified (New York Heart Association) as class I (23%), II (58%), and III (19%). In 14 (10.4%) patients, the defects were discovered incidentally. Ventricular septal defects, oval fossa type atrial septal defects, Fallot's tetralogy, and patent arterial duct together accounted for 77.8% of the cases. Surgical correction was undertaken in 117 (86.7%) patients; the remainder had palliative procedures. There were six (4.3%) reoperations. The functional class improved to class I or II in 95% of patients within the first postoperative year. The overall hospital mortality was 3% with two late deaths (1.5%).
Conclusion: The study demonstrates the feasibility of surgery for adolescents and adults with congenitally malformed hearts in the sub-region with a good outcome. Majority (77.8%) of patients present with less complex lesions.