100,000 children are born with heart disease every year in Pakistan

Published: September 27, 2012
Lack of awareness of the disease’s symptoms among people and doctors is fatal. PHOTO: FILE

Lack of awareness of the disease’s symptoms among people and doctors is fatal. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: About 100,000 children are born in Pakistan with cardiovascular diseases and die during infancy because they are not diagnosed or treated properly in time.

A panel of experts addressed these issues on the third day of the 9th International Symposium of the Pakistan Paediatric Cardiology Society on Wednesday. National and international experts attended the event which was organised in collaboration with the paediatric cardiology group of the Pakistan Paediatric Association.

“Factually about 60,000 children are born every year with congenital heart diseases and the number increases every year, but there are many cases which go undetected,” said the convener of the symposium, Prof. Najma Patel, of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases.

There are children who acquire heart diseases as rheumatic heart disease and myocarditis and over 5,000 cases of congenital and acquired heart diseases are registered every year at the institute.

Paediatric cardiology and surgery facilities have been available in Pakistan since the 1980s and nowadays, there is a paediatric cardiology centre in every major city of Pakistan. “But, cases are only registered when they develop complications because people and the medical community, including family physicians, have a poor understanding of the symptoms of such ailments,” she said.

Recognising the symptoms

Simple lesions often go undetected and are recognised when they develop complications because the treatment is not effective.

These lesions develop into complex lesions which make about 15 per cent of coronary heart diseases, denying children a long life span.

Prof. Patel suggested that giving penicillin to children when they complain of a sore throat is one way to prevent acquired and rheumatic heart disease.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • John Farnsworth (Australia)
    Sep 30, 2012 - 11:35AM

    Marrying close relatives (cousin, sister etc) in Islam can also cause congenital heart disease.


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