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How we help

European Heart for Children


The idea is simple and straightforward. It consists of three steps:

First, a few medical missions will be conducted in a given country to show the medical and political community that it is possible to treat children with congenital heart disease.

Secondly, it will be possible to take advantage of the training programme within our society. We will encourage doctors, nurses and technicians from countries in transition to be trained in more advanced centres.

The third and final step will be to help these countries both financially and professionally to establish a unit for the treatment of congenital heart disease

"It was obviously very emotional to see some of the children playing
and laughing, but what was even more touching were the faces of the
parents. They looked like different people, happy and grateful to life"
Claudia Florio Ferrari - account of the first mission



In the beginning, the missions will be conducted in partnership with other relevant humanitarian organisations and in agreement with the local governments and with the Cardiological National Society.

The added value provided by European Heart for Children to the mission consists in financial support, provision of medical, surgical and interventional materials, and the help from our Associations, Working Groups and Councils.

We will also offer volunteer teams of cardiologists, interventionists, anaesthetists, perfusionists, nurses and technicians. In addition, through the local National Society, the ESC can favour liaisons with the relevant Governmental institutions and regulators to promote the concept of creating units for congenital heart disease diagnosis and treatment.

Usually, a mission lasts 6-7 days with 100-150 babies being visited, diagnosed and cared for. At least 15-20 of these are immediately operated on and a chance of surgical intervention is offered to the most complex cases in more advanced ESC countries where all the required equipment for diagnosis and treatment is provided. Initially, European Heart for Children will collaborate with “Bambini Cardiopatici nel Mondo”, a well known association headed by Alessandro Frigiola (Policlinico S Donato, Milan) and Silvia Ricci (S. Ambrogio Hospital, Milan) and active since 1993 in 26 countries with more than 200 missions conducted and 1 300 children operated on.


European Heart for Children is aware that treatment of a few children is not going to resolve the problem.

The most important part of this project consists in providing an opportunity for physicians, technicians and nurses to be trained on how to treat congenital heart disease.

The ESC already offers a large variety of scholarships and more will be made available from the European Heart for Children Committee, particularly for nurses. The Chairman of the ESC training programme is Prof. José Luis Zamorano.


This is a dream… and sometimes dreams come true. Certainly the ESC is strong enough to achieve it, especially with your help.

In the years to come, whilst the missions and the training programmes are in progress, the European Heart for Children Committee will verify the degree of humanitarian assistance need in each relevant country and will liaise with cardiological National Societies, local colleagues, Government, politicians and organisations present in the territory.

The aim is to build and equip  a healthcare structure able to  take care of congenital heart  disease, and fulfil the children’s  needs.