Occluders are often the last chance for Bolivian children with congenital heart defects

Reuters news agency has published a video entitled “Fusing modern medicine and ancient tradition helps treat heart disorder” describing how interventional closure systems are used to treat Bolivian children with heart disorders.

pfm medical, one of the world’s leading suppliers of occluder systems for paediatric cardiology, has  for some time been taking action to improve the medical care of children with congenital heart defects in Bolivia.

The survival rates of children with congenital heart defects in Germany are now rising appreciably but there is still little hope for many children with similar defects in Bolivia. For this reason, a project was initiated back in 2008 by pfm medical and GTZ, Germany’s federal enterprise for technical cooperation, together with Dr. Franz Freudenthal and Dr. Alexandra Heath-Freudenthal. The project was supported by the German government as part of its development cooperation. The aim of the project was to treat affected Bolivian children locally and, in the long term, to establish effective interventional child cardiology services in the country.

The project involved some 400 children who were helped by specialist medical teams under the direction of Drs Freudenthal. The children received cardiological diagnostics, treatment and follow-up consultations free of charge.

Bolivian doctors in cooperation hospitals were given intensive training on the interventional procedure and the insertion of implants, thus ensuring that care will remain available in the long term. At the same time efforts were also made to educate the general population so that heart disorders can be recognised and treated more rapidly. The transfer of knowledge about medical technology and the development of partnerships were, and remain, equally important so that occluders can be manufactured in the country itself.

The example of young Dario Flores demonstrates the continuing success of the project. pfm medical and Dr. Freudenthal have entered into a strategic cooperation to produce the NitOcclud® PDA-R locally. Specialists such as Dr. Alexandra Heath-Freudenthal carry out the catheter-based operation and close the defect with a NitOcclud® PDA-R occluder. They have already been able to help many young patients – to improve their lives.

A description of the project and further information can be found here: Article in pfm medical Newsletter 02/2009 (pdf)

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