Background and aims: Until recently children in Libya had to travel to Tripoli, or abroad to receive cardiac surgery. The Ministry of Health and Benghazi Medical Centre invited International Children's Heart Foundation (ICHF) to assist with the establishment of a paediatric cardiac surgical program in Benghazi. A 1 year program commenced in October, 2013 with a small team of ICHF staff residing in Benghazi to work alongside and train the Libyan staff.
Aims: To discuss the establishment of the 1 year program including education aims and outcomes, surgical and ICU outcomes, and issues encountered.
Methods: A retrospective review of ICHF education records, surgical and ICU database, and risk register was undertaken with approval from the institutional review board.
Results: The first two months: 37 patients underwent 39 procedures with a mean RACHS of 2, and survival to discharge of 97%. Median age was 20 months and weight of 10kg. 13 patients were extubated in theatre, with the remainder ventilated in ICU for a mean of 3.9 hours. Morbidity in ICU included bleeding (16%), stridor (11%), and arrhythmia (5%). One patient (3%) had a surgical site infection, no patient had ventilator acquired pneumonia or central line associated blood stream infection. ICU nurses have received over 30 hours of lectures and tutorials, and demonstrated essential skills such as basic life support. Issues encountered included security, intensivist training, access to radiology services, and obtaining some essential stock.
Conclusions: Establishing a program such as this is a significant undertaking. It is important to review and monitor educational progress and patient outcomes.