Congenital heart disease and pulmonary arterial hypertension in South America (2013 Grover Conference series)

PVRI Member Authors: Antonio Augusto Lopes, Gabriel Diaz


South America is a territory of 17,819,100 km2, where ∼388 million people live in 13 countries. In the region, access to medical assistance (e.g., for treatment of cardiovascular disorders) is relatively easy in metropolitan areas but difficult in remote places such as the Andes and the Amazon. Altitudes up to ∼6,700 m influence the prevalence of congenital heart disease (CHD) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). In tertiary centers, CHD is now treated earlier in life but remains an important etiology of PAH. In adolescents and adults with PAH assisted at institutions devoted to treatment of cardiovascular disorders, the relative frequency of PAH-CHD (∼50%–60%) is even higher than that of idiopathic PAH. In one big tertiary center in São Paulo, Brazil, the prevalence of advanced PAH in children and adults with CHD is 1.2% and 4.2%, respectively. In young patients with cardiac septal defects (aged up to 2 years), pulmonary vascular abnormalities are a matter of concern in the decision about operability in 4.9% of cases. Access to specific PAH drugs is not uniform in South America, being unrealistic in remote places. In big cities, there are real possibilities for management of complex CHD, neonatal disorders, and even cardiac transplantation. Research activities have been implemented at clinical, translational, and basic levels. However, because of social and economic inequalities and political issues, access to best standards of medical care remains a problem in the region as a whole.

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Congenital Heart Disease
Pulmonary Hypertension


Antonio Augusto Lopes, Patricia C. Flores, Gabriel F. Diaz, Sonia M. F. Mesquita

Published in:

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 4: No 3 cover image

August 2014

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 4: No 3

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