Getinge partners with kinderherzen to bring hope to children with congenital heart defect
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Getinge partners with kinderherzen to bring hope to children with congenital heart defect

Getinge partners with kinderherzen to bring hope to children with congenital heart defect

Getinge provided several medtech products to support kinderherzen, a nonprofit organization in Sweden, in its mission to build a mobile cardiac surgery unit to treat children with congenital heart defect, one of the most common types of birth defects.

Every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world a baby is born with a life-threatening, but treatable heart defect – approximately 1.3 million children each year*.

“The country in which the baby is born often determines whether they survive,” Anja Schlarb, head of mobile kinderherzen-clinic in Sweden, said. “Some countries are lacking adequate medical care and where even a simple infection can be fatal, sophisticated cardiac surgical treatment is impossible.”

In 1989, kinderherzen - Fördergemeinschaft Deutsche Kinderherzzentren e.V. was founded with the goal of helping children with heart defects have a better chance of experiencing the same life expectancy as their healthy counterparts. The organization has built the world's first modular, self-sufficient, and mobile cardiac surgery unit – with intensive care and nursing station included – to operate on children with congenital heart defect. The intention is to be able to provide the highest standard of care in crisis regions and developing countries across the world, where sufficient medical treatment facilities and structures are unavailable.

“When we heard about this initiative, we were just in the process of moving the location of our Experience Center in Germany from Rastatt to Frankfurt – a place where you can experience Getinge’s solutions in a life-like hospital setup,” Ralf Uwe Schmitt, Vice President Sustainability & Leadership at Getinge, said. “For the new location, we slightly changed the concept of the showroom and aligned with our company compliance policies. We saw the possibility to reuse some of the solutions to support kinderherzen in building their mobile unit.”

The equipment is made available to to kinderherzen through a licensing agreement and is still property of Getinge. The company will handle maintenance of all provided products including, but not limited to, a mobile operating table, ventilators, anesthesia machines, and a heart-lung machine.

The building of the mobile kinderherzen clinic, also called MOHKI, is now complete and will begin operating in El Salvador this year. The country is in dire need of this type of available care, as approximately 1,000 children in the country are born with a heart defect every year.**

“In 2023/2024, we plan to do surgery on 50 children at the mobile kinderherzen clinic with the intent to save their lives. By 2026, this number is expected to be 200,” Anja Schlarb said.

While the age range of the children who will have surgery varies from a few weeks to 17 years, most are babies, toddlers or of elementary school age.

“We are very happy to help kinderherzen in their important work to provide a brighter future for these children,” Ralf Uwe Schmitt said.

*Source: (World Society for Paediatric Heart Surgery und Institute for Health, Metrics and Evaluation/GBD 2017 Congenital Heart Disease Collaborators)