The Cape Town Declaration on Access to Cardiac Surgery in the Developing World

P Zilla, R M Bolman, M H Yacoub, F Beyersdorf, K Sliwa, L Zühlke, R S D Higgins, B Mayosi, A Carpentier, D Williams


Twelve years after cardiologists and cardiac surgeons from all over the world issued the ‘Drakensberg Declaration on the Control of Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease in Africa’, calling on the world community to address the prevention and treatment of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) through improving living conditions, to develop pilot programmes at selected sites for control of rheumatic fever and RHD, and to periodically review progress made and challenges that remain, RHD still accounts for a major proportion of cardiovascular diseases in children and young adults in low- and middle-income countries, where more than 80% of the world population live. Globally equal in prevalence to human immunodeficiency virus infection, RHD affects 33 million people worldwide. Prevention efforts have been important but have failed to eradicate the disease. At the present time, the only effective treatment for symptomatic RHD is open heart surgery, yet that life-saving cardiac surgery is woefully absent in many endemic regions. In this declaration, we propose a framework structure to create a co-ordinated and transparent international alliance to address this inequality.

Authors' affiliations

P Zilla, Christiaan Barnard Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

R M Bolman, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA

M H Yacoub, Chain of Hope, Chelsea, London, UK

F Beyersdorf, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Universitäts-Herzzentrum Freiburg-Bad Krotzingen, Freiburg, Germany

K Sliwa, Hatter Institute of Cardiovascular Research in Africa, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

L Zühlke, Division of Paediatric Cardiology, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

R S D Higgins, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

B Mayosi, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

A Carpentier, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

D Williams, Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

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Consensus statement; Cardiac surgery; South Africa

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2018;108(9):702-704. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2018.v108i9.13102

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-08-28
Date published: 2018-08-28

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