Mumbai, 29th September 2022: The burden of heart disease is on the rise the world over, and India is no exception. Even a couple of decades ago heart attacks used to be a problem predominantly in older adults. Anyone younger than 40 years having a heart attack used to be a rare phenomenon. Now the situation has changed drastically with more and more instances of patients below 40 years succumbing to heart disease. This is one aspect of heart disease in adults in India. But what about the other aspect, the congenital heart defects in India? Congenital heart defects are the commonest birth defects seen in India. In a year in India, the caseload of children born with congenital heart disease is more than 200,000 and of these almost 40,000 babies are born with serious defects which require corrective surgery within the first year of life.
In the last 5 years, since the inception of SRCC Children’s Hospital, managed by Narayana Health located at Haji Ali, Mumbai, over 7500 children born with heart defects have been attended to the paediatric cardiac OPD, and another 10,000 children with suspected and/or diagnosed heart defects have been screened by our paediatric cardiologists at peripheral cardiac camps in Maharashtra and the neighbouring states and over 3400 children have undergone corrective procedures or surgeries. The instances of surgical or transcatheter interventions on pre-term babies weighing less than 800 grams, or even on one-day-old babies are plenty. In this facility, children getting treatment for their heart defects come not only from Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra, but also from other states within India, and even from middle eastern and African countries like Yemen and Iraq, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda.
On this World Heart Day, the Paediatric Cardiologists and Paediatric Cardiac Surgeons of SRCC Children’s Hospital, managed by Narayana Health joined together in a panel discussion to focus on various important and relevant issues such as the prevalence of cardiac ailments in children, the importance of early diagnosis and intervention, the available treatment options and the long- term outcomes of congenital heart disease. All the doctors emphasized the need for increased awareness amongst parents, the general public and paediatricians for timely diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects, which will help achieve immediate and long-term excellent outcomes and allow these children born with CHD to lead normal lives. They also emphasized the importance of inculcating a healthy and active lifestyle with good food habits from early childhood in all children, which goes a long way in promoting good future cardiovascular health when these children become adults.
Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Founder and Chairman of Narayana Health, stressed on the need for early detection and treatment as the key to a successful outcome, as any delay in the diagnosis of congenital heart defects only makes the treatment more complex.