More children are surviving heart surgery according to new study

3 April 2015        

Surgeons operating

Death rates in children within 30 days of heart surgery in the UK have almost halved over past decade, according to a new study.

The research involved analysing national data for all children under 16 between 2000 and 2010. Despite the level of complexity and number of procedures increasing over that period the 30 day death rate fell consistently from 4.3 per cent of cases to 2.6 per cent.

Research drives improvements

A dozen babies are born with a heart defect every day. Developments driven by research have helped surgeons to perform more complex operations to treat children born with congenital heart disease.

Over the past three decades deaths in children aged under 14 with congenital heart disease have fallen by over 80 per cent, largely due to early diagnosis and advances in surgical techniques, powered by research.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said:

“Surgery for children born with heart defects has dramatically improved in the UK over the last 50 years, from a position where very few babies survived to one where almost all do.

Read about BHF Professor Magdi Yacoub's life saving work to improve heart surgery in Heart Matters.

“This review of progress over the last ten years is highly reassuring. Due to advances driven by research, surgeons are now able to perform much more complex surgery, often on younger children with far more serious heart complications, than ten years ago. Despite these increased challenges the risk of death within 30 days of surgery has continued to fall substantially.

“More effort now needs to be devoted to understanding the longer term consequences of living with congenital heart disease after surgery, so we can further improve the quality of life for these patients.”

Help us fund more research

Calum, aged 9, was born with a complex heart condition called Truncus Arteriosus and has had to have a number of operations and will have to have more.

We've helped drive major advances to help children like Calum with congenital heart disease. With your support we can keep funding life saving research.

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