Pediatric cardiothoracic program in Malaysia: a study based on the outcome of the program

Cornelius Piros, Kulandasamy Pillai, Yoshitoku Yoshida, Patrick Lawrence, Eiko Yamamoto, Joshua Reyer, Nobuyuki Hamajima
Vulnerable communities in Malaysia have been facing issues of accessibility and availability for pediatric cardiac services for years due to long waiting times, high costs and a lack of pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons. To ease this situation, the government has allocated a certain amount of funds, introduced through the Pediatric Cardiothoracic Program (PCP), in which the patients are transported to the Narayana Health Institute of Cardiac Science (NH) in India to receive a heart operation
more » ... lowing an eligibility check at MediAssist4U Sdn Bhd in Selangor, Malaysia, a facility appointed by the NH. This study aimed to determine the demographic incidence of congenital heart diseases of patients in this program and to evaluate the outcome of the program in association with post-operative mortality rate and the beneficial factors of the program. In this study, 241 patients who participated in this program from August 2008 to September 2012 were reviewed. Fisher's exact tests were applied to calculate p-values of categorical data. Out of 241, 11 patients were rejected because of their poor health condition for flight transportation to India, leaving 230 patients for analysis. The majority of patients were 1 to 4 years of age (57.8%), Malays (61.7%), from families of monthly household income less than RM 1,500 (86.5%) and with primary school-educated parents (86.5%). Patients could apply from any government hospital in Malaysia, but 34.8% of the patients were from the state of Johor. The region (Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia) of patients seeking pediatric cardiac services was significantly associated with race (p<0.001), low household income (p<0.001) and low education background of parents (p=0.004). The associations between the age group and diagnosis group (p=0.010) and between duration of hospitalization and outcome of medical management (p=0.013) were significant. Post-operative mortality rate was 1.7% (95% confidence interval, 0.5-4.4). In conclusion, the patients and the government were considered to have benefited from the PCP.