BACKGROUND:

There is little information about congenital heart surgery outcomes in developing countries. The International Quality Improvement Collaborative for Congenital Heart Surgery in Developing World Countries uses a registry and quality improvement strategies with nongovernmental organization reinforcement to reduce mortality. Registry data were used to evaluate impact.

METHODS:

Twenty-eight sites in 17 developing world countries submitted congenital heart surgery data to a registry, received annual benchmarking reports, and created quality improvement teams. Webinars targeted 3 key drivers: safe perioperative practice, infection reduction, and team-based practice. Registry data were audited annually; only verified data were included in analyses. Risk-adjusted standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and standardized infection ratios among participating sites were calculated.

RESULTS:

Twenty-seven sites had verified data in at least 1 year, and 1 site withdrew. Among 15 049 cases of pediatric congenital heart surgery, unadjusted mortality was 6.3% and any major infection was 7.0%. SMRs for the overall International Quality Improvement Collaborative for Congenital Heart Surgery in Developing World Countries were 0.71 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.62–0.81) in 2011 and 0.76 (95% CI 0.69–0.83) in 2012, compared with 2010 baseline. SMRs among 7 sites participating in all 3 years were 0.85 (95% CI 0.71–1.00) in 2011 and 0.80 (95% CI 0.66–0.96) in 2012; among 14 sites participating in 2011 and 2012, the SMR was 0.80 (95% CI 0.70–0.91) in 2012. Standardized infection ratios were similarly reduced.

CONCLUSIONS:

Congenital heart surgery risk-adjusted mortality and infections were reduced in developing world programs participating in the collaborative quality improvement project and registry. Similar strategies might allow rapid reduction in global health care disparities.

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