Cardiac Surgery: Increasing Access in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Byiringiro S, Nyirimanzi N, Mucumbitsi J, Kamanzi ER, Swain J.Curr Cardiol Rep. 2020 May 19;22(7):37. doi: 10.1007/s11886-020-01290-5.PMID: 32430786 Review.


Purpose of the review: Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have long-battled communicable diseases, and now, a rise in non-communicable diseases (NCD) is conferring tremendous burden in these areas. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the number one cause of death among NCDs across the globe. The current review provides insight regarding this disease burden and highlights challenges as well as strategies for establishing functional cardiac surgery centers and sustainable access to comprehensive cardiovascular care within LMICs.

Recent findings: Without effective prevention and treatment strategies, estimates suggest that deaths from CVDs will reach 24 million by the year 2030. Surgery exists as a limited option for selected patients with advanced cardiac disease in LMICs in comparison with its availability in developed countries. Multi-lateral or public-private initiatives, government investment, philanthropic efforts, innovative financing systems to strengthen Universal Health Coverage, and expansion of training options through centers of excellence appear to be the way forward to broadening the availability of cardiovascular services, inclusive of surgery, to LMICs.