M.B. Bose, a dental surgeon with an active practice, was suddenly getting breathless with little exertion like climbing a flight of stairs, and felt “extremely claustrophobic” even in a small crowd. Used to a pretty exacting daily schedule, he wondered what had gone wrong.
A visit to the Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) set things right, since all he needed was a minor adjustment to his pacemaker. The super-speciality cardiac hospital in Mukundapur, off the EM Bypass, has set up “eastern India’s first dedicated pacemaker clinic” to provide “adequate information” to the large number of patients implanted with pacemakers or advised to do so.
The clinic, inaugurated by Asia Heart Foundation (AHF) chairman Devi Shetty earlier this month, plugs a hole in pacemaker therapy in the city, providing follow-up counselling and correction.
“More than 50 per cent of the country’s total pacemaker implantation is done in Calcutta itself, but follow-up advice and treatment after an implantation is scarce. It’s our duty to educate patients, since they can get a lot of freedom with knowledge,” says J. Naik, director, interventional cardiology, RTIICS.
The clinic functions every Friday, between 2 and 4 pm, and 10 patients are counselled and treated every week by appointment. “There are many questions in the patients’ mind about whether the pacemaker is working properly, how long will the battery last, or whether they can travel,” Naik observes. The institute provides the patients with pacemaker education leaflets and registration cards carrying details of the pacemaker parameters with follow-up data.
Patients advised to go in for pacemakers, are evaluated through various diagnostic tests like ordinary and magnet ECG. “An invasive electro-physiology study may also be conducted if indicated,” says A.G. Ravi Kishore, chief coordinator, cardiac electrophysiology division, AHF.
Patients are counselled on the necessity and mode of functioning of the pacemaker. Its interaction with other sophisticated electromagnetic equipment, like cellular phones, is explained and the patients are taught how to minimise interference.
As follow-up, patients with pacemakers are examined and the battery status of the machines assessed. Depending on the patient’s level of activity, the gadgets are programmed with the help of the pacemaker programmer.
The facility of this specialised clinic is extended to any patient having or advised to implant single-chamber, dual-chamber or biventricular pacemakers, as well as automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator (AICD).