Congenital Heart Unit in Leeds Children’s Hospital has highest surgery survival rate in UK

The Congenital Heart Unit in Leeds Children’s Hospital has been rated as having the highest surgery survival rate in the UK.

Sunday, 13th December 2020, 6:00 am

A report published today shows that children who undergo heart surgery in Leeds have better outcomes than anywhere else in the country.

The National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research (NICOR), released their report on Thursday, December 10.

It assesses the performance of individual heart surgery units by calculating an expected rate of survival according to the type and complexity of heart surgery performed.

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Dr Malenka Bissell pictured with the new MRI Coil for the Congenital Heart Unit, at the Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme
Dr Malenka Bissell pictured with the new MRI Coil for the Congenital Heart Unit, at the Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme

Over a three-year period, Leeds Congenital Heart Unit performed heart surgery on 929 children and achieved a survival rate of 99.4 per cent.

Leeds was the only children’s heart surgery unit in the UK to have a survival rate that was in the highest performance category, being ‘much higher than expected’ for units of its kind in England.

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The unit in Leeds cares for patients with congenital heart disease of all ages, from before birth to old age and from across the Yorkshire and Humber region.

The service has expanded over recent years and now operates on more than 500 children and adults per year.

It has the second largest programme for keyhole treatment of congenital heart disease in the UK and is a pioneer of new keyhole techniques, including in the smallest new-born babies.

The Congenital Heart Unit has a strong focus on research and in the last 18 months has also welcomed the introduction of a state-of-the-art children’s hybrid operating theatre, which was kindly funded with the support of Leeds Cares and Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and opened by the Hospital’s patron HRH The Countess of Wessex.

Dr James Oliver, Clinical Lead for Congenital Cardiology, said: "The survival of children undergoing cardiac surgery across the UK as a whole is among the best in the world.

"That our survival rate in Leeds is the highest in the country means that we truly have a world class service.

"Achieving outcomes like this involves a broad team of professionals working together with absolute focus on providing care of the highest standards. We have that in Leeds and everyone in the team can be rightly proud of what they have achieved’.

Mr Osama Jaber, Senior surgeon and Lead for Congenital Cardiac Surgery, said “What a fantastic achievement, all credit to the dedication and hard work of everyone at the unit.

"I am so proud of the whole team and so happy for our patients and families in Yorkshire and Humber to have a world class congenital cardiac service at their doorstep.’

Chief Executive Julian Hartley said: “Our fantastic congenital heart team cares for patients with some of the most complex heart problems using cutting edge procedures to ensure the best outcomes.

"The NICOR report highlights the team’s achievements over the last three years and is a testament to their commitment to delivering the best possible care for our patients.

"We are very proud to have a world-beating service like this right here in Leeds.”

Sharon Milner, CEO of Children’s Heart Surgery Fund said: “It is wonderful to see these fantastic results, and testament to the tireless, life-saving work of the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit.

"Each and every staff member in the Unit should feel rightfully proud of these statistics - the congenital cardiac service and the team work so hard to support the Babies, Children, and the Adult congenital patients.

"I must also pay tribute to our wonderful supporters, whose amazing fundraising has helped Leeds to become a world class centre of excellence in this specialty.”

YEP's Have a Heart campaign

The Yorkshire Evening Post launched a Have a Heart campaign earlier this year, to help the Children's Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) reach its £1m target for donations in 2020.

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, CHSF has been forced to issue an urgent plea for donations after losing a "significant portion" of its yearly income - thought to be around £300,000 over the next few months.

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