Rabin Chakraborty and (right) Afzalur Rehman at the Dhaka conference. Pictures by Amit Datta
A heart-to-heart boosted the bond between Bengal and Bangladesh last week.
The occasion: a conference in Dhaka where nearly 400 interventional cardiologists from both sides of the border shared notes on new technology and treatment.
“The spirit is that of Bhasha Divas (February 21). It is a celebration of Bengali language and culture,” said Rabin Chakraborty, a city-based cardiologist who was one of the organisers of the third Bangla Interventional Therapeutics 2013, held on Thursday and Friday.
“Bengali cardiologists are of global standard. We have decided to organise the conference every year to share knowledge and knowhow,” added Chakraborty.
The fourth edition will be held in Santiniketan next February.
“This is one conference I don’t like to miss. I am more comfortable sharing views with my Bengali counterparts than others. It’s also easier to get busy cardiologists from Calcutta, many of whom have roots here, for this conference,” said Reyan Anis, one of the several female cardiologists from Dhaka who took part in the event.
Fazila Malik, another Bangladeshi cardiologist, said she felt like she was meeting friends and relatives from across the border. She had attended the second edition of the conference in Calcutta last year and loved the “mishti and ilish”.
Senior doctors like Chakraborty and Afzalur Rehman, a professor of cardiology in Dhaka, came up with the idea of the meet in 2010 during a conference in Seoul, where Chinese doctors were holding their own get-together.
“Bangla-speaking people sacrificed their lives for the language. To pay respect to the spirit, we’ve decided to hold the meet every February,” said Rehman, adding joint training programmes were being planned.
Doctors on both sides have to deal with similar genes and socio-economic conditions. For example, people from the sub-continent have narrower arteries compared to those in the West. The problems are also similar, such as poor rural health care facilities, said Calcutta-based cardiologist Suvanan Roy.
He added: “Many patients in the subcontinent cannot tolerate high doses of drugs, unlike those in the West. We are planning to conduct methodical studies on usage of drugs and technology.”
The latest technology is not always available on both sides of the border.
For example, cardiologists in Calcutta have started implanting in blocked arteries stents that dissolve in the blood in about a year. The new type of stent, called Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold, reduce complications sometimes caused by metallic stents, said doctors at the conference. The new-generation stent is yet to be introduced in Bangladesh.
Bangaldeshi cardiologists are now using renal denervation therapy, which helps control high blood pressure. It involves insertion of a catheter in the two arteries connecting the kidneys. Selective burns in the loop of nerves in the arteries using radio frequency can help control blood pressure. The treatment, doctors said, is expected to be introduced in Calcutta later this year.