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Cardiac Surgery Intersociety Alliance

A transcontinental collaboration united to provide RHD life-saving valve surgery.

The Cardiac Surgery Intersociety Alliance (CSIA) is the first ever transcontinental collaboration of all the major cardiothoracic surgical societies, including the AATS, ASCVTS, EACTS, STS, in partnership with WHF. Our goal is to improve access to paediatric cardiac surgery for the millions of children suffering from Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD).

RHD is a preventable, treatable form of cardiovascular disease that results from damage to the heart valves caused by one or several episodes of rheumatic fever, an autoimmune, inflammatory reaction to throat infection caused by group A streptococci (streptococcal pharyngitis). The global burden of RHD is estimated at 33 million – practically the same as the worldwide HIV rate (World Health Organization Global Health Observatory data 2017). By far the majority of children suffering from Rheumatic Heart disease in low- to middle-income countries (LIC to MIC) have no access to lifesaving valve surgery which leads to premature mortality in these vulnerable populations.

The CSIA is a collaboration united to give children with RHD life-saving valve surgery by building capacity for cardiothoracic surgery in LIC and MIC from the ground up, to ensure sustainability and positive long term outcomes. This includes providing appropriate training for cardiothoracic surgeons in cardiac surgical problems they will encounter in their own countries, as well as supporting selected cardiothoracic centers where the need exists to upscale and improve existing surgical capacity to perform an increased number of high standard RHD-related valve surgeries. The long term objective is to establish high quality cardiothoracic surgical centers in LIC and MIC staffed with home grown cardiothoracic surgeons .

The call for applications for the first pilot centers in LIC and MIC will open shortly. If you wish to be contacted about this, or if you are interested in staying up to date with the CSIA’s future activities please contact us on

Article: Global Unmet Needs in Cardiac Surgery

The Cape Town Declaration

In August 2018, experts from the world’s major heart surgery organizations—including The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), the Asian Society for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery (ASCVTS), and the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS)—issued a join declaration calling for urgent action to develop and implement effective strategies for treating rheumatic heart disease (RHD), which affects 33 million people and kills 320,000 annually.

The joint statement, known as the Cape Town Declaration, was published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery and eight other journals.


The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS); the European Association for Cardiothoracic Surgery (EACTS); the Asian Society for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery (ASCVTS); the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) and the World Heart Federation (WHF) jointly oversee an alliance that was charged with evaluating, endorsing and working with potential sites in low-income countries to increase access to sustainable cardiac surgery with particular emphasis on rheumatic heart disease.

CSIA will initially select three pilot sites: one in West Africa; one in Southern/East Africa and one in Asia, where local cardiac surgery, independent from fly-in missions has been established but resource constraints severely limit the surgical capacity. CSIA sees itself as a facilitator of a site-specific partnership soliciting donor support as well as staff training with the goal of increasing the delivery of cardiac surgery on the basis of local capacity. CSIA will also facilitate the establishment of a collaborative research partnership with a tertiary institution of a high-income country. Central to such initiatives is a strongly motivated initiator/champion that can be a health professional; a health manager; an institution or a government. The CSIA is looking for sites that are passionate and dedicated and determined to establish an enduring successful partnership.

Learn more about the selection criteria


The CSIA will be accepting applications through 10 September 2019, and all programs are encouraged to apply. If not selected for the initial pilot site, all applications will be entered into a database for consideration at a future date.

Applications and supporting documents should be submitted to:
“CSIA Proposals”
World Heart Federation
32 rue de Malatrex
1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Or by email to

If you have any queries, please contact Chip Bollman at

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