The Nhi Dong 1 Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City is working with the city’s Paediatric Cardiology and Congenital Heart Disease Society and several lower-level hospitals to establish a network for treatment and management of congenital heart diseases across southern Vietnam.

Vu Minh Phuc, head of the hospital’s Cardiovascular Department, revealed the information on July 7.

According to the doctor, the hospital has provided treatment and surgeries for 3,115 infants with congenital heart defects, including 645 cases in serious conditions and 125 newborns.

The lightest infant who has undergone open-heart surgery at the hospital weighed only 2 kilogrammes while the smallest child receiving closed-heart procedure was just 1.2 kilogrammes in weight, Phuc said.

The fatality rate after heart surgery among child patients fell from 7.7 percent in 2004 to only 1.1 percent last year, he noted, adding that some 1,300 children are still on the waiting list for cardiovascular surgery due to the lack of facilities and personnel.

The Nhi Dong 1 Hospital believed that a network for congenital heart defect care in the south is the key solution to reduce waiting times.

Accordingly, local hospitals are responsible for detection of heart defect and post-operation care while centrally-run medical establishment will perform the surgeries.

A number of southern cities and provinces have joined the network to date, including Can Tho, Kien Giang, Dong Nai and An Giang.

The Nhi Dong 1 Hospital performed the first closed-heart operation on an infant in 2004 and the first open-heart surgery three years later.

It has been providing medical training and technique transfer on cardiac care for many southern local hospitals.-VNA