PASCaTS Holds Global Heart Disease Forum

The Pan-African Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (PASCaTS) and the Global Heart Care in collaboration with the German Heart Centre/Charité Berlin, have held a virtual forum to commemorate the Global Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day 2021, marked on February 22.

The forum was to advocate for increased awareness of heart valve disease (congenital and acquired) and to learn how to optimize patients’ outcomes, initiate and develop new knowledge (science), continue development of technical tools (diagnostic and treatment) and translate and implement the knowledge and know-how (Practice).

It also provided healthcare providers and educators with an uninterrupted working process for advocating heart valve disease awareness, sharing clinical experiences and scientific results of their works to optimize patient management.

Prof. Dr Charles Yankah CEO, Founder, Global Heart Forum German Heart Centre, in his welcome address stated that Covid-19 has globally devastated human lives, deranged the healthcare system and caused the socio-economic crisis, however, it has also inspired the medical field to scale up digital health technology programs for reshaping holistic and resilient health systems.

The forum featured an interactive multi-disciplinary session that covered surgical and interventional procedures for congenital (including adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD), inflammatory and degenerative heart valve diseases.

“It highlights state-of-the-art surgical and interventional techniques including minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS), transaortic valve implantation (TAVI), transpulmonary valve implantation (TPVI) procedures, surgical reconstruction of the congenital right ventricular (RVOTO – pulmonary stenosis) and left ventricular outflow tract obstructions (LVOTO – aortic valve stenosis) as well as complex valve repairs and replacements for inflammatory (rheumatic and infective endocarditis) and degenerative diseases,” Prod. Dr Yankah said.

He further noted that the good news is that the prevalence of rheumatic heart valve disease (RHVD) has declined by 8.7% between 1990 and 2017 an impact of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while degenerative heart valve disease has increased by 45%.

“The recent data show that moderate or severe aortic valve disease is present in 4.2% to 10.7% and mitral valve disease in 5.1% of the population ages 65 and older.

We appreciate the remarkable progress made in global cardiovascular surgery in the past 50 years in the context of professional upskilling, innovations, access to complex cardiovascular care and quality care for universal health coverage, yet there is a regional disparity in access and affordability to care in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) due to lack of experts in valve repairs and national health insurance scheme for achieving universal health coverage,” he added.

Prof. Dr Volkmar Falk, Medical Director, German Heart Centre Berlin, Director, Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery German Heart Centre/Charité Berlin, in his opening remarks, said international charity heart teams have responded to the emergency calls to provide cardiac surgery especially congenital and rheumatic heart valve surgery, to underserved communities.

He, however, said the team has impacted less than two 2% of 850,000 children with congenital and rheumatic heart diseases in sub-Saharan Africa waiting for surgery and thus encouraged existing centres to try and achieve at least 40 Open Heart Surgeries per million people.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri