China California Heart Watch

The China California Heart Watch brings together experts from the United States, China, and around the world. Together, we use innovative and sustainable methods to combat the growing epidemic of heart disease in Yunnan Province, China. Our overarching mission is to serve the people of Yunnan through: (1) Training local healthcare professionals in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease; (2) Improving access to high-quality healthcare and life-saving treatments; (3) Researching the epidemiology of heart disease, the effectiveness of our interventions, and other topics of critical value to rural Chinese populations. The activities of the China California Heart Watch generate ...
Jul 6, 2016

A China Cal Success Story

Li Li today, at age 19
Li Li today, at age 19

Li Li lives with her mother and younger brother in one of the poorest places in China, Cang Yuan County in Yunnan Province. In her town, farming families live in bamboo huts without running water or electricity and have yearly incomes of a few hundred dollars. In 2012, at the age of 15, Li Li lost her father to severe pancreatic disease. That same year, her heart disease (mitral stenosis and regurgitation) began to get worse. Soon, she could only walk a few steps before becoming short of breath, and she could no longer attend school.

Staff of the China California Heart Watch first met Li Li in 2012, when visiting her hometown. At the time, it was easy to see that Li Li had only about a year to live if nothing was done to correct her heart defects. The China California Heart Watch referred Li Li to a famous cardiac surgeon, Professor An Qi at Cheng Du West China Hospital, and through the generous support of our donors, we were able to fund her surgery.

Professor An replaced her deformed valve with a prosthesis. Unfortunately, however, that was only the beginning. A few days after her surgery, Li Li developed a fever. Tests showed that she had an infection on her new valve. Upon hearing this news, China California Heart Watch staff immediately flew to Cheng Du and met with Professor An and the infectious disease team at West China Hospital. Antibiotic treatment was started and continued for six weeks to rid her body and her new valve of the infection. Six weeks later, Li Li returned to her home town in Cang Yuan County with her mother and brother. Today, Li Li travels two hours every week to the country hospital for blood tests, so she can regulate her blood thinning medicine.

Li Li returned to school and China Cal visited in Cang Yuan County Hospital last month. We learned that Li Li can now climb the stairs at school and help her mother with house and garden work. The local Federation for Disabled Persons helps her family. She studies hard every day, and she wants to attend university and become a doctor.

Who made this possible? You, our supporters and donors, gave this bright girl the chance to be healthy. She now has hope, and she wishes to serve her country and other children in the future. Please keep helping the China California Heart Watch in its efforts to bring attention to and reduce the suffering of children living with heart disease in Yunnan.

Jul 6, 2016

The Importance of Screening

Screening saved this boy
Screening saved this boy's life

Two of every one thousand babies are born with critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). These babies will not survive more than one month unless they make it to the operating table to correct their birth defect. In the United States and other developed countries, all newborns undergo simple cardiac screening at birth, and those with CCHD are treated promptly with appropriate surgery. Most survive to adulthood.

In rural Yunnan Province, all infants with CCHD die. None are detected by screening because there are no heart screening programs for newborns in Yunnan. Because of this, babies with CCHD do not receive proper diagnosis or treatment. Lacking knowledge about cardiac screening, families and local medical personnel cannot help these babies and, in fact, are left with little idea as to why these infants do not survive past the first few weeks of life.

Three years ago, the China California Heart Watch, in cooperation with the University of California at Irvine, the Masimo Corporation, and the Ping and Amy Chao Foundation, set out to end this senseless loss of life.

The Yunnan Newborn Cardiac Training Program trains rural obstetricians and obstetric nurses in proper cardiac examinations of newborns. China Cal has already trained all obstetric doctors and nurses in half of the Yunnan Province counties. Over 30,000 newborns have undergone appropriate screening exams because of this training program. Hundreds of doctors and nurses have received training. High quality Masimo pulse oximeters, necessary for appropriate heart screening, have been donated to 60 poor rural county hospitals.

The baby in the attached picture is one month old and is proof that the China Cal screening program works. His CCHD (in this case, pulmonary valve atresia) was detected because of the China Cal screening program, and he is now recovering from CCHD surgery in the Chengdu West China Hospital. His surgery was supported by China Cal’s collaborators, the Ai You Foundation and the Ping and Amy Chao Foundation.

He is only the first of many newborns who will be given a chance to survive. We calculate that about 2,000 newborns in Yunnan Province have CCHD. To keep this program going, please consider another donation today. Thank you.

Mar 22, 2016

Two Children in Need of Your Support

15 year old Liang
15 year old Liang

About three months ago, the China California Heart Watch identified two young children in need of your help.

First is Liang, a 15 year old girl from Zhaotong Prefecture in Yunnan Province. Her Mom and Dad are farmers, and their income is only 5000 Yuan (about $800) per year. She has severe leakage of one of her heart valves, which is abnormally formed, a condition known as tricuspid valve incompetence. This condition is relatively rare and surgical treatment is expensive and can only be done at special centers. Liang is frequently short of breath and cannot participate in physical education or dance classes, though her dream is to learn Chinese and Western classical ballet. Fortunately, Liang can receive excellent surgical treatment from Professor Wu Qin Yu of Beijing’s Qing Hua University Hua Xin Affiliate Hospital. The China California Heart Watch was able to raise $3000 at a benefit dinner for Liang on January 24, but she needs another $7,000 to cover the cost of her surgical treatment in Beijing.

Finally, Xing is a 6 year old boy with complex congenital heart disease. Both his aorta and his pulmonary artery are attached to the same ventricle and his aorta is partially blocked, a condition known as coarctation. He lives in Teng Chong County, Yunnan. His father and mother are farmers. Their total yearly income is 30,000 yuan (about $4,800). Xing was born with only one pumping chamber in his heart instead of two chambers. This is a very severe kind of heart disease that should be corrected in infancy. Xing is lucky because the nature of his heart disease is such that, even at this relatively late age, it can be cured with surgery. Operation for this kind of heart disease costs about 50,000 yuan ($8,000) or about two years income for this family. This surgery is only partially covered by rural health insurance (10%) and not at all by Chinese charitable foundations. Xing’s family can raise 15,000 yuan ($2,400). They need an additional 35,000 yuan ($5,600) to pay for their son’s surgery.

Can you help the China California Heart Watch ensure that each child has access to the surgeries they need by making a donation today?

Thank you for your kind and continued support.

6 year old Xing
6 year old Xing
 
   

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