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Artery route to patient’s heart

‘Redo surgery’ no longer just means blood flowing back to the heart. For Calcutta, it means a backflow signifying something much larger: the return of patients and credibility to Calcutta’s heartcare institutes, which, till quite some time ago, had drawn flak over migration of patients to other states.

Now, the city seems to have become the destination for patients who need a redo of the Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG). The redo, or repeat, surgery tries to supplement the original vein-grafting with a second round of grafting, this time of the artery, as veins are wont to get blocked again after four or five years, say doctors here.

Most doctors elsewhere, however, prefer making veins the conduits of blood-flow as vein grafting, that takes at most two hours, is less time-consuming. “Artery-grafting takes longer and is a difficult procedure but, nevertheless, is foolproof and effects a permanent solution to the problem,” said city-based cardiologist P.K. Hazra.

Srinjoy Ganguly, 58, is a beneficiary of the Calcutta doctor’s skill. A decade after he first went under the scalpel, he began to feel the same severe pain in the chest and experienced breathlessness. Ganguly, who underwent the first round of CABG in Chennai in 1990, headed for the same destination. This time, however, he was refused admission by experts on the grounds that he had a poor heart condition and risked losing his life.

After Chennai, Ganguly headed for Bangalore. “I met several doctors, but came back dejected to Calcutta,” he said. It was left to a Calcutta-based specialist, K.M. Mandana, to help him out. Last week, Mandana carried out the marathon surgery at B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre. “Ganguly has responded well to medication and the post-operative part has been smooth till now,” he added.

Ganguly is not alone. S.M. Ray of Howrah, 59, also did the rounds of the clinics of several ‘renowned’ surgeons in Bangalore and other cities. Everywhere, he was refused because of relatively high risks involved.

After the first surgery in 1996, Ray did not have too many problems till late 1999’ when he developed anginal pains. He underwent two angiographies and took extensive medication but that did not help.

“To our relief, he could get the much-needed redo surgery done by a city-based expert,” said his wife, Shibani. Redo CABG is now gradually on the rise, with the past four months itself reporting around 20 cases from different city hospitals.

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