Dr. Christo Tchervenkov gives children a new lease on a life that has barely begun.
Working to the Rhythm of a Baby's Heart
Children are the world's most precious assets, and those who care for them hold the key to our future. Dr. Tchervenkov is a congenital heat surgeon at the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) who works to give children a new lease on a life that has barely begun.
In North America 8 in 1000 children are born with congenital heart disease (CHD). It occurs when the heart, or vessels next to the heart, is not fully formed at birth. As result, the heart does not function properly because it is not completely developed. In some cases the abnormalities do not result in problems, but in others the results are severe.
Émile Jutras, a patient of Dr Tchervenkov, spent 126 days on life support after a rare virus caused his heart to fail. He had a rare blood type and it took a long time for a suitable donor heart to be found. While waiting, he spent 17 days on machine-based life support, and 109 with a Berlin artificial heart (a first in Canada). Alexis Lefebvre is another child born with severe heart malformations. Thanks to Dr Tchervenkov and his innovative approach, these children have left the hospital and are now leading healthy lives.
Last year Dr. Tchervenkov founded the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery. “Ninety percent of children who are born with congenital heart disease have no or inadequate access to health care,” says Dr. Tchervenkov. “These children are mainly in developing countries. The tragedy is that we have the knowledge; we know how to fix heart malformations. It is time the international medical community stands together to bring this technology to the children who need it.”
Dr. Tchervenkov is a Professor of Surgery at McGill University and is the Director of the McGill Centre of Excellence for Congenital Heart Disease, and the Director of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. In addition, he serves on the Councils of the Congenital Heart Surgeons’ Society and the European Congenital Heart Surgeons Association, and is the Founding President of the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery.
For further information, please contact Dr. Christo Tchervenkov at 514 934-4400 ext. 22394
This article was originally published by Canadians for Health Research, chrcrm.org