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Heart defects in infants are almost always congenital. This can sometimes bring great danger to the baby’s life. Such pathologies are not that common. However, the high mortality rate of those affected by heart defects forces doctors to improve early diagnostics and treatment techniques.
- Types of heart defects
- Endovascular operations
- Open heart surgeries
- Minimally invasive robotic-assisted operations
- Heart transplantation and intrauterine cardiac surgeries
- Treatment of heart defects in children in the world's leading hospitals
- Organization of treatment in foreign hospitals
Types of heart defects
Life-sustaining activity is a vital stage of the therapy as well as compensation of disturbed blood circulation. However these are temporary measures. The key goal of treatment is to completely eliminate a heart defect which can only be done by surgery.
Heart defects represent rough organic defects of the heart muscle and blood vessels connected to its cavity. Prevailing heart defects include:
- “Extra” gaps between the cardiac chambers
- Improper placement of blood vessels
- Too narrow, or on the contrary, too wide lumens between the blood vessels and cardiac chambers
- Vessels are joined where they shouldn’t be
- Changes in the anatomical of the heart or vessel structures
Any congenital heart defects are eliminated with the help of surgery. The procedure can be performed right after a baby is born or after reaching an appropriate age. In case of waiting a kid is administered conservative therapy for chronic insufficiency treatment.
Endovascular operations are always preferred for heart defects in kids if they can help to negate the anatomic disorder. Endovascular surgery is a kind of intervention where the instruments are inserted through the vessels but not through the opened chest.
Benefits of such a procedure are obvious:
- There is no need to cut open the chest
- Cardiopulmonary bypass is not needed
- There is no need to open the heart cavity
- Long-term inpatient rehabilitation is unnecessary
- Aesthetic effect
- Low cost of surgery
Proper blood circulation can be restored by various devices like occluders, balloons, and stents. Devices are inserted into the heart, veins or arteries with the help of a catheter. Surgery is monitored by an X-ray or ultrasound.
Open heart surgeries
Open heart surgeries are done in clinics with limited possibilities to perform a proper endovascular operation. Besides, intravascular correction of cardiac malformation is impossible. Severe malfunctions of the heart and vessels structure require a traditional open heart surgery using the apparatus of artificial circulation.
Surgery success considerably differs in the medical institutions of different countries. In fact, almost all endovascular interventions are high-tech. That’s why professionals from the prosperous countries with best healthcare have made great strides in congenital heart defects treatment (Germany, Switzerland).
In course of surgery next options can be performed:
- Sealing of the defects
- Replacement of valves
- Prosthetics of the arteries (with artificial or alloprosthesis, obtained from one’s own vessels from other parts of the body)
- Reconstruction of vessels, changing their location relatively to the heart
Minimally invasive robotic-assisted operations
Minimally invasive robotic-assisted operations can serve as an alternative for the conventional interventions presupposing open access and all manipulations performance under the vision control. Certain German hospitals offer such operations. They are held with the help of "da Vinci" and "Zeus" robotic systems.
Key benefits of these systems are:
- Reduced impact of the human factor. Human movements are always less acute than those of a robot.
- Surgical instruments and a camera are inserted through small incisions up to 2 cm long.
- Risk of intraoperative and post-operational complications is lower.
- Rehabilitation period is shorter.
There are pros and cons to be considered. Firstly, there is a limited availability of such an advanced technique. Not all the hospitals offer robotic-assisted cardio-surgeries. Second disadvantage this kind of surgery is available at a much higher cost.
Heart transplantation and intrauterine cardiac surgeries
Heart transplantation. Normally, the heart and its defects can be negated with the help of surgery. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible. If a prognosis as for the restoration of normal hemodynamics after surgical treatment is not favourable then heart transplantation is needed.
Prenatal (intrauterine) cardiac surgery. It is possible to correct rough heart defects during prenatal surgery even before a baby is born. Balloon plasty is used to fix under developments of the heart’s left side. Specialists perform an operation around the 22nd week of pregnancy. The aorta of the fetus is enlarged, and the left half of the heart is formed normally. As a result, a baby will not require organ transplantation after the birth.
Treatment of heart defects in children in the world's leading hospitals
Carrying out any cardiac surgery in children requires high-tech equipment. Vast experience and a high level of skill of a cardiac surgeon are also required. In German hospitals, expert-class equipment is used, and all operations are carried out by the best specialists in their field. Therefore, the treatment of congenital heart defects in children in German hospitals is the most effective. In addition, it can reduce the risk of death or development of complications after surgery.
Leading hospitals that perform heart surgeries in children are as follows:
- University Hospital Tuebingen, Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Intensive Care, Pulmonology
- University Hospital Frankfurt am Main, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
- University Hospital Würzburg, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
- University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
- University Hospital Heidelberg, Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Congenital Heart Diseases
The cost of diagnostics and conservative treatment starts from €1,565, the cost of a surgery without the use of a heart-lung machine – from €18,130, the cost of a surgery with a heart-lung machine – from €25,465.
Organization of treatment in foreign hospitals
If you are not a German citizen, you still can undergo treatment at one of the German hospitals with the help of Booking Health – the international medical tourism operator headquartered in Germany. Booking Health specialists will help you in such important moments:
- Choosing the right hospital based on the annual qualification profile
- Establishing communication directly with your doctor
- Preparing medical program in advance, without repeating previous examinations
- Providing favorable costs, without overpricing and additional coefficients for foreign patients (saving up to 50%)
- Booking the appointment on the necessary date
- Monitoring medical program at all stages
- Help in buying and forwarding of medicines
- Communication with the hospital after treatment completion
- Control of invoices and return of unspent funds
- Organization of additional examinations and rehabilitation
- Offering service of the highest level: booking hotels and plane tickets, transfer organization
- Services of interpreter and personal medical coordinator
Leave a request on the Booking Health website, and a medical advisor will contact you on the same day in order to discuss the possibilities of treatment in specialized hospitals abroad.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!