Congenital cardiac surgery continues to improve in the UK

Published: 04 Apr 2016

Data published today by the National Congenital Heart Disease Audit (NCHDA) shows survival for children undergoing cardiac procedures for congenital heart disease has continued to improve in recent years.  In the 3 year period 2012 -2015, there were 75 fewer deaths than predicted, demonstrating the continuing rise in the quality of congenital cardiac surgery in the UK.  Survival 30 days after heart surgery for children was also good or better than predicted in each of the paediatric centres providing care.

Read the full report here

Dr. Rodney Franklin, Clinical Lead for the NCHDA said: “Overall survival after congenital heart procedures continues to improve and remains as high as anywhere in the world.”

The report also shows that antenatal detection rates continue to improve in the UK. Almost 50% of infants who required a procedure to treat a congenital heart malformation in infancy were diagnosed through antenatal screening compared to less than a quarter in 2004/5.  In addition, regional variations have continued to decrease.

Dr. Rodney Franklin said: “antenatal detection is very important because advance warning that a child has a congenital heart problem leads to better planned care after birth, often with improved survival and fewer complications following treatment. Furthermore, detection rates are comparable to or better than those published in the USA.”

The NCHDA collected data from 30,929 congenital heart surgical operations and transcatheter interventional procedures performed in 34 hospitals, including all 14 specialist paediatric units, between 2012 and 2015 in the UK and the Republic of Ireland (RoI).  Other key findings from the report include:

  • during 2014-15, the most recent year, 10,096 procedures were carried out, of which 7,279 were on children and 2,817 were on adults;
  • the number of procedures undertaken and activity levels have increased by almost 40% since 2000;
  • survival at 30 days after all 73 major surgical and cardiovascular interventions undertaken to treat congenital heart disease at any age was good in all centres.  All hospitals had survival rates above the alarm limit for all procedures. Only two centres had 30 day survival rates which breached the alert limit for one of the 73 specific procedures during this period:

o    Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (for surgical repair of atrial septal defect in adults, and

o   Evelina London Children’s Hospital (for the Norwood procedure in children);

o   both hospitals have been notified, the responses from the hospitals reviewed, and the quality of local services assured.

The NCHDA, now in its 16th year, is managed by NICOR and is the largest and most comprehensive national audit of its kind in the world. The audit collects data from all centres undertaking congenital cardiac surgery and interventional procedures in the UK (since 2000) and RoI (since 2012).

NCHDA is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership as part of the National Clinical Audit Programme and clinically led by the British Congenital Cardiac Association and The Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland.