Head of the Department of Cardiac Surgery

Igor Polivenok

Igor Polivenok

Head of department at the Institute of General and Emergency Surgery

Congenital heart defects are #1 “child homicide” №1.

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of neonatal mortality in developed countries, taking more children’s lives than all pediatric oncology put together. CHD prevalence is 0.8 – 1% of all newborns. Early infant mortality rate in Ukraine is 15 ‰, whereas in Germany, for example – 4%. Above all, this difference is caused by mortality from congenital heart disease. About half of all children with CHD are in need of surgical treatment in childhood, and 30% of them – require surgery during the first month of life. Natural mortality in childhood (i.e. with no surgery) for all CHD is more than 40%, completed on time operation can reduce this figure by 10 times, to 4%. Thus, surgical treatment is the most effective treatment for heart disease and has no alternative today.

However, surgeries on heart are among the most expensive ones, since their implementation requires both expensive equipment and high-tech disposable supplies, such as an oxygenator or valved conduit pulmonary artery. Also in recent years, endovascular surgery became popular for treatment of some CHD, based on the fact that the defect correction is performed with intravascular access, i.e. without a surgical incision, by implantation of special devices – occluders or stents into the heart or major vessel, or dilation of narrowed valves and vessels with special cans.Such operations are less traumatic and greatly reduce the risk of perioperative complications; however, implantable devices are also very expensive.
Budget funding, designed, according to the Constitution, to guarantee free medical care, today is not able to provide children in need of operations with consumables, especially those for endovascular interventions.

Our department performs about 200 pediatric CHD operations per year, a quarter of them – endovascular. Most of children-patients are from the Kharkiv region. Provided that the promised government funding will be executed in the stated amount, more than 120 young patients annually are in need of additional funding. The cost of the key and most expensive consumables for a heart surgery is between 25 and 50 thousand UAH, depending on the type of surgery. Thus, the Department requires minimum 3 million UAH donations per year.
We would be grateful for any help in our efforts to ensure children’s rights to life and health.

Yours faithfully,
Head of department at the Institute of General and Emergency Surgery