This literature review summarizes recommendations and challenges encountered when establishing cardiac surgery centers in developing countries and common heart diseases encountered abroad. Cardiac surgery is not widely available in most developing countries, and most patients have no choice but to live in morbid conditions. The ideal continuous treatment for these patients would be provided by a local, sustainable cardiac surgery center. A collaborative effort from international volunteers, nongovernmental organizations, local governments, and private benefactors is necessary to facilitate adequate cardiac care in developing countries.
Keywords: cardiac surgery; cardiovascular disease; developing nations; medical volunteerism.