Catheter interventions in congenital heart disease without regular catheterization laboratory equipment: the chain of hope experience in Rwanda

Pediatr Cardiol. 2013 Jan;34(1):39-45. doi: 10.1007/s00246-012-0378-5. Epub 2012 May 27.


This report describes the feasibility and safety of cardiac catheterization in a developing country without access to a regular cardiac catheterization laboratory. The equipment used for imaging consisted of a monoplane conventional C-arm X-ray system and a portable ultrasound machine using the usual guidewires and catheters for cardiovascular access. In this study, 30 patients, including 17 children younger than 2 years and 2 adults, underwent catheterization of the following cardiac anomalies: patent ductus arteriosus (20 patients) and pulmonary valve stenosis (9 patients, including 2 patients with critical stenosis and 3 patients with a secundum atrial septal defect). Except for two cases requiring surgery, the patients were treated successfully without complications. They all were discharged from hospital, usually the day after cardiac catheterization, and showed significant clinical improvement in the follow-up evaluation. Cardiac catheterization can be performed safely and very effectively in a country with limited resources. If patients are well selected, this mode of treatment is possible without the support of a sophisticated catheterization laboratory.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cardiac Catheterization / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Rwanda
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult