The ability to perform research suggests that a facility is interested in advancing itself. In most of the countries ICHF serves, the facilities and funds necessary for basic research are simply not available to carry out research projects.
ICHF therefore encourages clinical research projects at all the sites it assists. A number of the sites ICHF visits are enrolled in clinical research studies initiated by the ICHF. The clinical research projects are related to improving the care provided to children with heart disease in the countries it assists. Engaging medical colleagues in research projects is one of the processes ICHF uses to stimulate further education and self-evaluation; thus promoting grown in these areas. Listed here is a sampling of the research projects conducted by ICHF. For further information, please contact the ICHF Medical Director, Dr. William Novick.
Research Project: Double Flap Patch Ventricular (DFV) Septal Defect Closure technique
The ICHF pioneered the DFV technique specifically to treat children with pulmonary hypertension who had previously been denied an operation because of the high mortality associated with closing these defects.
The technique is now used world wide. The results of using this technique have been presented at a number of major international and national cardiac surgery conferences. The articles was published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, January 2005, originally published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, November 1998.
Research Project: Ultra-fast Recovery following pediatric cardiac surgery
Since January 1999 ICHF has used and encouraged the use of ultra-fast recovery of children after cardiac surgery at all visited sites. The benefits of this approach are decreased complications, shorter stay in the ICU and a decrease in expenses locally. ICHF has presented these results at a number of international meetings and published in Cardiovascular Engineering.
Research Project: Alternatives to homografts for Right Ventricular to Pulmonary Artery reconstruction
Homografts are necessary to reconstruct the connection between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery in a number of defects in children. ICHF is investigating alternative, since homografts are rarely available in the countries we assist. This article is published in theAnnals of Thoracic Surgery, May 2004.
Research Project: Arterial Switch Operation for Children Presenting Late
The best time to perform pediatric heart surgery is as soon as possible after a child is born. Most children in developing countries are not lucky enough to have an ICHF medical team onsite at birth. Most are diagnosed several weeks to a month later. ICHF has entered into a multinational, multi-institutional study to determine what criteria will allow for operations after 21 days of age. The countries involved are India, Belarus, Colombia and Ukraine. The results were presented at the Fourth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and cardiac Surgery in Buenos Aires in September, 2005.
In the medically advanced countries, children with a condition known as transposition of the great arteries (TGA) received corrective surgery within the first two weeks of life. However, in many developing countries, these children are not diagnosed until they are several weeks of ages. Historically, the risk of surgery has been much higher at this age.
Research Project: Anomalous Left Coronary from the Pulmonary Artery (ALCAPA)
ICHF has developed a unique operation for this extremely rare malformation that enables surgeons with little experience to perform a corrective procedure at low risk. The work was presented at the World Congress of International Cardiovascular Surgery in Beijing, China in January 2005 and in Lahore, Pakistan in March 2005 at the First International congress on Pediatric Cardiology and cardiac Surgery in Emerging Societies. Dr. Novick performed this surgery during the congress.
Anomalous left coronary from the pulmonary artery is a rare congenital heart defect. The ICHF has operated on 10 (as of 2005) such children. The technique is now used in at least three countries.