Global aspects of cardiothoracic surgery with focus on developing countries.

The incidence and prevalence of cardiothoracic disease continue to increase globally, especially in emerging economies and developing countries. Cardiothoracic surgery is also growing despite limited access, availability of surgical centers, political and cost issues. The increase in atherosclerotic coronary artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease, trauma, and thoracic malignancies is a more urgent problem than realized in these emerging economies and developing countries, or low- and middle-income countries. A determined focus and cooperation between the preventive and curative elements of care is warranted. This represents a paradigm shift to develop a consensus that fosters a multi-integrated disease-specific approach that includes prevention, promotion, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. In addition, the concept or acceptance of surgery as a necessary component of public health policy is critical to improving overall global healthcare.