127 children diagnosed with congenital heart disease while 129 have rheumatic heart disease since last April

127 children diagnosed with congenital heart disease while 129 have rheumatic heart disease since last April

By Pratika Mala
Thursday 10/09/2020
Those who are not in urgent need of surgery will undergo surgery when the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjiveeni Children’s Heart Hospital opens in a couple of months time. [image: Sai Prema Foundation Fiji]

127 children of the 1,104 screened at the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Screening Centre since April last year have been diagnosed with congenital heart disease while 129 were found to have rheumatic heart disease.

The Director of Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Medical Centre, Dr. Krupali Tappoo says in cases where children need urgent surgery, they will be sent to New Zealand through the Ministry of Health.

She says those who are not in urgent need of surgery will undergo surgery when the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjiveeni Children’s Heart Hospital opens in a couple of months time.

Dr Tappoo adds the aim of the Centre is to expand the free heart screening program particularly to rural areas who do not have access to these facilities.

Dr. Tappoo says congenital heart defect or disease refers to an abnormality of the heart which is present at birth and up to 20% of heart defects are gene-linked abnormalities but for the remaining 80%, the cause is largely unknown.

She says some contributing factors of the disease include smoking in pregnancy, the mothers’ diet, history of diabetes in pregnancy or being overweight as well as medications used in pregnancy.

She says the common symptoms of the disease are shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, cyanosis, frequent chest infections, failure to thrive and swelling in the abdomen or around the eye.

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