Assoc Prof Rik De Decker Director: Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and CATHCHAT2018-09-18T10:48:03+00:00

Project Description

Meet Assoc Prof Rik De Decker Director: Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and CATHCHAT 

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With 1 in 100 children born with a heart defect, it is the most common birth defect globally.  Certain categories of heart disease need to be diagnosed within the first weeks of life, otherwise the chance of survival is severely limited.

As head of the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory (cath lab) and CATHCHAT at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Associate Professor Rik De Decker feels very strongly about the future of technology in enabling cost effective cardiac interventions as well as training medical staff in this field to continue to save lives.

The cath lab’s role at the Hospital has changed over the years and technology has contributed extensively to early diagnosis, prognosis and successful interventions. More often than not, after heart surgery, patients will require further interventions as they develop and their hearts adjust to their physical growth.  Cardiac ultrasounds (echocardiograms) have become so advanced that catheterisations to determine precise anatomy before operating are now seldom required before heart surgery.  Interventional cardiac catheterisations, done by routing corrective devices via the veins and arteries,  are now more often done, and are able to correct the seven most common lesions of the heart that account for 30% of all congenital heart disease. For these corrective interventions, a surgeon and ICU are not required, thus decreasing costs and patient recovery time substantially.

One of De Decker’s concerns is that there are a number of public health facilities in various African cities, including cities in South Africa, that are fortunate enough to have cardiac catheterisation laboratories, but are not staffed with the expertise or funded to run efficiently.

At the Red Cross Children’s Hospital cath lab, mentorship has come from experts from all over the world including the UK, Germany, Turkey, Vietnam and the United States.  “Cathing is a team procedure and all team members need to be trained and work together”.  By using CATHCHAT, the Hospital’s bespoke innovative online learning and training platform, cardiac catheterisations and other interventional procedures, can be broadcast to experts who can instruct the team live online from anywhere in the world, all via the Internet.  This has replaced the exorbitant cost of satellite transmissions to now being virtually cost-free and not time-limited.

CATHCHAT has already broadcast over 100 procedures and seminars and thanks to the donations via The Children’s Hospital Trust, is adding further modules to the system that will significantly enhance its broadcasting capacities.

“Virtually all children with heart disease will die if not treated and we have experienced too many stories of babies and children that have been misdiagnosed and not referred to the correct hospital straight away. Obviously, babies cannot tell you what’s wrong, so educating parents and clinical medical staff on the signs of possible heart disease is key to referring them to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital immediately.”

De Decker and his team have collaborated with a number of doctors and specialists in various African countries including South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia.  His mission is to encourage cath labs in Africa to use a similar mentorship model and approach as the CATHCHAT system.  This will enable cath lab teams to be trained by specialists from around the world effectively to utilise the cath lab equipment already placed in many hospitals on the continent.

Associate Professor Rik De Decker

MSc(cum laude) MBChB DCH FCPaeds(SA) CertMedGenet(SA) Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist and Director: Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and CATHCHAT

Red Cross Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital

Rik_De_Decker

“Virtually all children with heart disease will die if not treated and we have experienced too many stories of babies and children that have been misdiagnosed and not referred to the correct hospital straight away. Obviously, babies cannot tell you what’s wrong, so educating parents and clinical medical staff on the signs of possible heart disease is key to referring them to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital straight away.”

Meet Assoc Prof Rik De Decker Director: Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and CATHCHAT 

With 1 in 100 children born with a heart defect, it is the most common birth defect globally.  Certain categories of heart disease need to be diagnosed within the first weeks of life, otherwise the chance of survival is severely limited.

As head of the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory (cath lab) and CATHCHAT at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Associate Professor Rik De Decker feels very strongly about the future of technology in enabling cost effective cardiac interventions as well as training medical staff in this field to continue to save lives.

The cath lab’s role at the Hospital has changed over the years and technology has contributed extensively to early diagnosis, prognosis and successful interventions. More often than not, after heart surgery, patients will require further interventions as they develop and their hearts adjust to their physical growth.  Cardiac ultrasounds (echocardiograms) have become so advanced that catheterisations to determine precise anatomy before operating are now seldom required before heart surgery.  Interventional cardiac catheterisations, done by routing corrective devices via the veins and arteries,  are now more often done, and are able to correct the seven most common lesions of the heart that account for 30% of all congenital heart disease. For these corrective interventions, a surgeon and ICU are not required, thus decreasing costs and patient recovery time substantially.

One of De Decker’s concerns is that there are a number of public health facilities in various African cities, including cities in South Africa, that are fortunate enough to have cardiac catheterisation laboratories, but are not staffed with the expertise or funded to run efficiently.

At the Red Cross Children’s Hospital cath lab, mentorship has come from experts from all over the world including the UK, Germany, Turkey, Vietnam and the United States.  “Cathing is a team procedure and all team members need to be trained and work together”.  By using CATHCHAT, the Hospital’s bespoke innovative online learning and training platform, cardiac catheterisations and other interventional procedures, can be broadcast to experts who can instruct the team live online from anywhere in the world, all via the Internet.  This has replaced the exorbitant cost of satellite transmissions to now being virtually cost-free and not time-limited.

CATHCHAT has already broadcast over 100 procedures and seminars and thanks to the donations via The Children’s Hospital Trust, is adding further modules to the system that will significantly enhance its broadcasting capacities.

“Virtually all children with heart disease will die if not treated and we have experienced too many stories of babies and children that have been misdiagnosed and not referred to the correct hospital straight away. Obviously, babies cannot tell you what’s wrong, so educating parents and clinical medical staff on the signs of possible heart disease is key to referring them to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital straight away.”

De Decker and his team have collaborated with a number of doctors and specialists in various African countries including South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia.  His mission is to encourage cath labs in Africa to use a similar mentorship model and approach as the CATHCHAT system.  This will enable cath lab teams to be trained by specialists from around the world effectively to utilise the cath lab equipment already placed in many hospitals on the continent.

Associate Professor Rik De Decker

MSc(cum laude) MBChB DCH FCPaeds(SA) CertMedGenet(SA) Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist and Director: Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory and CATHCHAT

Red Cross Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital

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