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Heartbeat International and BIOTRONIK Expand Fight Against Cardiovascular Disease in Mexico
11-month-old baby girl with Down syndrome saved by clinical team using pacemaker donated by BIOTRONIK
In Mexico, federal government programs offer assistance to patients with cardiac problems. The cost of a required pacemaker implantation is however not covered, meaning that many patients do not receive the treatment they need.
"A little girl was dying," explains Ariel Garcia, HBI Chairman of the Saltillo Heart Center in northeastern Mexico. The 11-month-old Geraldine Ariana Suarez was born with and suffered from an atrioventricular (AV) block, a form of bradycardia heart disease. "They were looking for help everywhere, and finally she received a BIOTRONIK pacemaker. Now she's doing just fine. She's laughing, she's happy, and she's starting to talk. Her grandparents and her mother cry with joy almost every day."
"In Mexico, there are so many people who cannot afford to buy a pacemaker. At the hospital, they are offered no option other than to go home-and most of them die a sudden death," says Dr. Jorge Bahena, Medical Director of Mexico National Heart Centers. "With HBI's program, this scenario has turned completely around. Patients do not go home because they cannot afford an implantable cardiac device. We have saved more than 100 lives and have had outstanding support from BIOTRONIK."
"You have returned the light to our lives," says Geraldine's mother, Ana Gabriela Suarez. "It is incredible that the sum of the wills of BIOTRONIK, Heartbeat International and the group of Rotarians who run the Saltillo Heart Center have made it possible to save her life. God bless all who have given me the greatest gift in life-the health of my daughter."
Comprised almost completely of volunteers, including 120 physicians, social workers, administrators, support staff and other medical professionals, Heartbeat International's Heart Centers are running in five locations in Mexico: Aguascalientes, Mexico City, Monterrey, Puebla and Saltillo. A sixth location is scheduled to open soon in Guadalajara.
"BIOTRONIK is strongly committed to saving lives around the globe by donating cardiac devices to economically disadvantaged people via HBI's program," says Christoph Böhmer, Managing Director of BIOTRONIK. "As a leading global manufacturer of cardiovascular therapies, we firmly believe that it is our responsibility to be at the forefront with initiatives to increase patient access to life-saving, high quality care."
"The commitment BIOTRONIK made at the end of 2010-to help Heartbeat International save 1000 lives with BIOTRONIK devices by 2013-has set a high standard," explained Benedict S. Maniscalco, MD, Chairman and CEO of Heartbeat International Foundation. "BIOTRONIK's donation goal will be exceeded in 2012-one year early. We would like to use this opportunity to appeal to others to follow their lead and join our cause to fight against the socioeconomic discrimination of patients who desperately need care."
About Heartbeat International Foundation (HBI)
Globally, between one and three million people die annually because they cannot afford a pacemaker or ICD. Operating in the poorest regions of the world since 1984, Heartbeat International has saved disadvantaged patients' lives in Pakistan, Honduras, Benin, Venezuela, Kenya, Guatemala, Trinidad, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Philippines, Thailand, India, China and Mexico.
For more information, visit: www.biotronik.com
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