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Doctors from two Bengals talk heart

Cardiologist Rabin Chakraborty (second from left) and others at the Bangla International Therapeutics. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

Interventional cardiologists from both Bengals exchanged notes on the latest in their line of work and bonded over Tagore at the fourth Bangla Interventional Therapeutics (BIT) held at Santiniketan.

Innovations in cardiovascular interventions — such as new-generation stents and modern techniques to manage hypertension — were some of the topics of discussion at the two-day convention.

This year, 400 delegates, including many medical students, attended the convention that was split into 17 short sessions.

The meet was organised a day after Bhasa Divas (February 21), something that the doctors said binds the two Bengals.

“This is a platform for Bengali cardiologists to spread as well as to absorb knowledge as the BIT brings many fine minds under one roof,” said Rabin Chakraborty, a city-based interventional cardiologist and the brain behind the convention, along with Afzalur Rehman, a professor of cardiology in Dhaka.

One of the highlights of the convention was Chakraborty’s presentation on the latest drug-eluting stents, which slowly release a drug when placed in a diseased peripheral or coronary artery.

“The function of this drug is to stop cell proliferation or multiplication of cells and hence, stop the processes that could otherwise block the stented artery,” said Chakraborty.

The cardiologists also discussed the use of the absorbable stent, which dissolves after the vessel in which it is implanted heals, and the medicines that are most effective in conjunction with such procedures.

Technically challenging procedures of cardiovascular interventions were taken up in workshops involving video presentations.

Momenuzzaman, the chief consultant at Dhaka’s United Hospital, said there was a lot in common in the way patients from two Bengals responded to treatment because their food habits and lifestyle was largely similar. So, research and surveys were also topics of discussion.

One such survey done in Bangladesh revealed that while more men than women continued to die from heart diseases, the growth rate of mortality was more among in women.

The study shows that in the 20 years between 1986 and 2006, the mortality rate of heart diseases increased 30 times among men (from 16 per 1 lakh to 480) but 47 times among women (from 7 per 1 lakh to 330).

In BIT 2014, heart diseases among women living on both sides of the border was a “special agenda”, said the organisers.

“It has become mandatory for clinical trials of medicines among different ethnic groups. Interactions such as this would help us build the structural framework for such a trial,” said Chakraborty.