Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the world, impacting nearly 1 percent of all live births. Over 90 percent of children in the world who are in need of a surgical intervention for congenital heart disease do not have access to care. That’s why University Children’s Health Heart Center has been committed to several humanitarian endeavors to narrow the global disparity in the delivery of congenital cardiac care.
HeartGift, San Antonio was established in 2008. Its purpose is to bring children from underserved regions of the world to San Antonio for corrective heart surgery. To date our program has performed corrective surgery on 43 patients. Since our partnership with University Health System, we have performed corrective surgery on 13 patients from 7 different countries including: Uganda, Mongolia, Philippines, Honduras, Bolivia, Kenya and Jamaica.
In October of 2015, a 9 person team from San Antonio and University Health System/UT Health San Antonio, embarked on a 10-day trip to the Gaza Strip and performed corrective surgical procedures on 9 children with congenital heart disease. This is the 6th time a trip has been made by team members to the Middle East with a total of 81 patients receiving surgical intervention.
In January of 2016, our 7 person team embarked upon a 10-day trip to Lima, Peru and performed corrective surgical procedures on children with congenital heart disease.