The following is a summary of PhD candidate Fangqi Guo’s research plan.
Undiagnosed congenital cardiac shunt lesions with pulmonary hypertension and critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) kill 3 to 4 of every thousand children in developing countries. Most of these heart defects are completely curable if discovered early in life. Yunnan Province is a slowly developing province of China. The estimated number of infants that die from these heart defects is about 400 per year. Pulse oximetry is an effective screening method to detect CCHD in very early stage. We will provide rural Yunnan county hospitals, where most babies are now born, with equipment and training for doctors and nurses responsible for the care of neonates. We will train these doctors regarding proper neonatal cardiac examination. We will evaluate the increased knowledge and change in behaviour of these trainees. Though rural Yunnan is one of the poorest regions of China, both medical insurance options and financial assistance mechanisms are growing and the level of medical care is continuously improving. The conditions for increased awareness and discovery of undiagnosed congenital heart cases are therefore ideal for addressing this problem in Yunnan Province.