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Children's Health

HOW DO WE HELP MORE CHILDREN WITH HEART DEFECTS?

By building a hybrid surgical facility.

TelemedicineThe Evelina London Children’s Hospital is planning to expand its facilities to include a new hybrid operating theatre that will allow us to combine two important procedures: interventional and surgical. 

The new theatre will allow our cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to continue developing new techniques to significantly improve patient outcomes for the most complex cases. 

Hybrid cardiac surgery is traditional heart surgery combined with interventional procedures, such as catheritisation. This involves inserting a small, flexible tube into a patient’s blood vessel in the upper thigh, arm or neck and threading it through to the heart, which then allows doctors to perform a procedure or do diagnostic tests. It is called a hybrid procedure because both these procedures are performed at the same time.

These operations are most commonly used for a condition called hypoplastic left heart, a condition that occurs when a child is born with a heart that’s not developed on the left side.

Professor John Simpson, Professor of Children’s and Foetal Cardiology says: ‘In the past, you used to have to decide about whether you went down a two-ventricle repair (trying to separate the two sides), or whether you went down a so-called single-ventricle repair, which is a much more compromised circulation, like hypoplastic left heart management.  You had to decide which way you were going in the neonatal period (within the first month after birth).’  

He continues: ‘The hybrid operation allows you to do what you need to do, then you can actually wait for months. You’re allowing yourself to make a much more considered judgement about how both sides of the heart develop, how they’re progressing.  It essentially buys you time, and this gives you the ability to see exactly what the effect of surgery is.’

Evelina London is leading the development of interventional hybrid procedures in children. We have the only established programme of congenital hybrid surgery in the UK. This is an increasingly significant area of activity and practice in the hospital, which places us at the forefront of congenital cardiology and cardiac surgery in the country. 

We also have the second largest surgical programme in the UK for single ventricle disease. Evelina London receives a significant number of referrals from across the UK for complex surgery and complex intervention.

We anticipate a significant and steady growth in cardiac surgery over the coming years. This is due to local population growth, as well as an increase in referrals from other children’s hospitals from across the country. 

At the moment, our current hybrid activity takes place in a catheter lab not designed for this use and is too small for the surgical and catheter equipment, plus the combined clinical teams. 

This why we plan to create a state-of-the-art theatre, twice the size of our current facility, to provide sufficient space to accommodate both surgical and catheter teams, alongside their equipment, bi-pass machine and the latest bi-plane radiography technology. 

You can be part of our effort to treat children with heart defects from across the UK. Please donate today, so we can continue to lead in the treatment of children’s cardiac care, and to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable patients. 

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