Pediatric cardiologists claim that 3000 newborns suffered from congenital heart diseases, out of which 2,200 to 2,500 required surgical operations.
Babies born with a hole in the heart or having a narrow valve or a more complex condition are the main issues.
The Children’s Heart Project of Sri Lanka noted that congenital heart defects affected nearly one per cent of babies born in the country, a ratio of between six to eight babies per 1,000 births of those suffering from some sort of heart ailment.
Chairman of the Project, Consultant Pediatric Cardiologist at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, Dr. Duminda Samarasinghe pointed out that while there were 370,000 to 375,000 child births per year, two thirds required intervention including surgery.
He added that the costs of surgery were staggering.
“At the moment, we can treat 1,500. We expect that the figure of 2,200 and 2,500 will increase to 3,000 infants a year. Some may need two or three surgeries a year. Some are waiting for surgeries. While some will require only one intervention, others will need multiple interventions. Sometimes only a surgical intervention can help. Usually for cardiac surgery, the stay in hospital is two weeks and if there are any complications, they may have to stay on for one month. The cost is huge,” Dr. Samarasinghe explained.