Access to paediatric cardiac surgery in Colombia: A population-based study

Marlena E. Sabatino, Rodolfo J. Dennis, Pablo Sandoval-Trujillo, Sergio Valencia, Karen Moreno-Medina, Darió Londonõ, Alberto E. Garcia-Torres, David Tulloch, Gabriel E. Herrera-Almario, Gregory L. Peck, Nestor Sandoval

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Globally congenital heart disease mortality is declining, yet the proportion of infant deaths attributable to heart disease rises in Colombia and other middle-sociodemographic countries. We aimed to assess the accessibility of paediatric cardiac surgery (PCS) to children <18 years of age in 2016 in the South American country of Colombia. METHODS: In Bogotá, Colombia, a multi-national team used cross-sectional and retrospective cohort study designs to adapt and evaluate 4 health system indicators at the national level: First, the population with timely geographic access to an institution providing PCS; second, the number of paediatric cardiac surgeons; third, this specialized procedure volume and its national distribution; and fourth, the 30-day perioperative mortality rate after PCS in Colombia. RESULTS: Geospatial mapping approximates 64% (n = 9 894 356) of the under-18 Colombian population lives within 2-h drivetime of an institution providing PCS. Twenty-eight cardiovascular surgeons report performing PCS, 82% (n = 23) with formal training. In 2016, 1281 PCS procedures were registered, 90% of whom were performed in 6 of the country's 32 departments. National non-risk-adjusted all-cause 30-day perioperative mortality rate after PCS was 2.73% (n = 35). CONCLUSIONS: Colombia's paediatric population had variable access to cardiac surgery in 2016, largely dependent upon geography. While the country may have the capacity to provide timely, high-quality care to those who need it, our study enables future comparative analyses to measure the impact of health system interventions facilitating healthcare equity for the underserved populations across Colombia and the Latin American region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-327
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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