The challenges of cardiac surgery for African children

Cardiovasc J Afr. 2012 Apr;23(3):165-7. doi: 10.5830/CVJA-2012-013.


In Africa the specific pattern of cardiovascular diseases and lack of adequate measures for disease prevention and control result in the frequent need for open-heart surgery for the management of complications of cardiomyopathies in children. Several strategies and innovative ways of providing cardiovascular surgical care in African countries have been used, from agreements to send patients overseas, to programmes for the creation of local services to provide comprehensive care locally. This article attempts to outline the challenges faced by underdeveloped countries in Africa wanting to embark on programmes of cardiac surgery and the need for several sectors of society to play a role in the process. It discusses issues related to the establishment of centres performing cardiac surgery in Africa, describes the treatment of congenital heart disease, and reviews the aspects of management of conditions highly prevalent in or mostly confined to this continent, such as rheumatic heart valve disease and endomyocardial fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / surgery*
  • Child
  • Developing Countries*
  • Endomyocardial Fibrosis / surgery
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery
  • Humans
  • Rheumatic Heart Disease / surgery
  • Thoracic Surgery*