Necessary help always comes on time
Belarusian medics successfully correct rare cardiac defects in children
“We haven’t been sending children born with cardiac defects abroad for the past five years, as we can treat them domestically, operating even in cases of rare heart disease, correcting defects successfully,” notes the Director of the Children’s Surgery Republican Research and Practical Centre, Konstantin Drozdovsky.
Since the Centre’s establishment, children haven’t been sent abroad for surgery, as its experts have mastered techniques and operations performed internationally. They also have their own, original methods, using keyhole surgery. Laparoscopy is particularly effective on new-born babies, notes Mr. Drozdovsky, telling us, “In past years, we’ve treated, on average, about 1,000-1,200 children born with heart defects and about 5,000 children with surgical pathologies of thoracic organs and the abdomen.”
Children may be born with multiple defects, requiring a comprehensive approach and the involvement of various specialists. Medical professionals try to correct such defects during a single operation, to reduce risk to babies. Being under anesthesia for longer than an hour once significantly increased the risk of death, but 6 to 8-hour operations are now possible, thanks to improved anesthesiology and intensive care.
The Head of the Children’s Surgery Department, Alexandre Svirsky, tells us that his centre treats the most complex cases, with surgery often conducted in stages. Around 32,000 Minsk citizens are admitted annually.
The Republican Research and Practical Centre launched on January 1st, 2015, uniting the Children’s Cardiac Surgery Department of the Cardiology Republican Research and Practical Centre, and the Children’s Surgical Centre of Minsk’s 1st Clinical Hospital. According to Mr. Drozdovsky, the first year of operating was quite hard, as there were many organisational and methodological issues to tackle. Now, there are over ten research projects aimed at resolving the most urgent issues in child and cardiac surgery, anesthesiology and intensive care. New methods are being developed to treat young patients, with new surgical pathologies and new materials being used.
“The last 18 months have proven successful over all, as we’ve almost halved post-surgery mortality of infants with surgical pathologies, and the mortality of children born with heart defects has fallen slightly. Our major achievement is better access to aid for children. A baby born with multiple defects, which happens quite often, receives adequate aid, early and at the highest possible level,” asserts Mr. Drozdovsky.
By Alexander Pimenov