Lithuania: Santaros Klinika Vilnius

Vilnius University Hospital Santaros klinikos (VUH SK) is one of the biggest specialised university hospitals in Lithuania with 2012 beds. Approximately 100 000 in-patients undergo treatment and some 1mln. out-patient consultations and 50,000 complex surgeries are performed annually. In 2015, two referral centres for rare heart diseases were established in the hospital structure: Rare adult cardiovascular disease centre and Congenital heart disease centre.

VUH SK is one of the two hospitals, providing highly specialized services for the patients with familial electrical diseases and cardiomyopathies. The highest number and the most complex electrophysiological procedures and devices implantations for patients with familial electrical diseases and cardiomyopathies are performed at VUH SK. Diagnostic laboratories provide the widest range of testing in Lithuania, including next-generation sequencing (NGS), array comparative genome hybridization (aCGH), specialized molecular genetic and molecular cytogenetic tests. During the last years, genetic testing for rare heart diseases improved the diagnosis of familial electrical and cardiomyopathy disease. It resulted in enhanced medical and interventional treatment and familial risk assessment of these patients. Since 2016 – 2017, the center has a monitoring system that collects data on newly diagnosed cases and tracks the course of the disease.

VUH SK has long-term experience in congenital heart disease in children. Surgical treatments for congenital heart diseases are applied since 1964 and concentrated only in VUH SK. During the period of more than 50 years, more than 7500 surgeries for congenital heart disease in children were performed; currently, 250-300 children with congenital heart disease are born annually in Lithuania. The vast variety of congenital heart defects, rare and complex cases require highly specialized and unique organization of work. VUH SK is the only centre in Lithuania where congenital heart defect surgery and heart transplantation for children are performed. Since 2017, VUH SK is a member of ERN TRANSPLANT-CHILD. Another area of specialization is adults with congenital heart disease. Current number of these patients in Lithuania are 4500-5500, the number is growing annually at a rate of ~ 5%.

Dr. Barysiene