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Doctor charts out health mantra for hectic life

- Cardiac surgeon advises residents to change mindset regarding heart disease

Having performed over 10,000 surgeries, cardiac surgeon Subhash Kumar Sinha has joined a premier hospital in the city. Nishant Sinha of The Telegraph caught up with the doctor on why he chose to come back to his state, the facilities available here and how to avoid lifestyle diseases

Say something about yourself?

I was born in Gaya in 1955. After completing my MBBS from Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, I did my MS from Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH). Then I did my MCh in cardio thoracic and cardiovascular surgery from Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh and MBA in healthcare services from Sikkim Manipal University. I also completed a Managing Healthcare Delivery programme from Harvard Business School, Boston. I was the director (cardio thoracic and cardiovascular surgery), Max Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi. I have been chief cardiac surgeon and head of the department, Batra Hospital, Delhi, apart from being chief cardiac surgeon at Regency Hospital, Kanpur. I was also Visiting Fellow, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, and cardiac surgeon at Railway Hospital, Chennai.

After so many laurels and achievements what prompted you to come to Bihar?

Bihar is my birthplace. You should give something back to your homeland. This was the prime motivation for me coming to the state.

Why Paras HMRI Hospital?

What better place to serve than Paras HMRI? The hospital is comparable to any other in the country — be it in terms of facilities, infrastructure or attitude. It is the best quality hospital in eastern India and we have to make it a centre par excellence.

What are the causes of coronary artery disease?

Changing lifestyle is the primary cause. Decreased physical activities, diabetes, smoking, tobacco-chewing and genetic factors are other problems responsible.

How can one avoid it?

Exercise can help. Change your eating habits and avoid junk and spicy food.

Does Paras provide bypass surgery on a beating heart?

Yes it does. I was among the first few surgeons who started bypass surgery on beating heart back in 1977-78. At that time, only two or three centres in the country provided the facility. In this surgery, we do not arrest the heart. In simple terms bypass surgery is performed on the heart while it is beating. The heart will not be stopped during the operation. You would not need a heart-lung machine. Your heart and lungs will continue to perform during the surgery. We use a tissue-stabilisation system to immobilise the area of the heart. Beating heart bypass surgery is also called off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery. Beating heart surgery is better as it reduces side effects in certain patients. We have performed 30 bypass surgeries in the past month.

What is minimal access surgery?

In minimal access surgery, small incisions are made in the heart. This is very popular among women, as only a small hole is needed below the breast. The service is available at Paras HMRI.

What is the difference between angioplasty and coronary artery bypass grafting?

Angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure that opens a blocked or narrow coronary artery. A stent is placed in coronary artery to help keep it open while in coronary artery bypass grafting, a healthy artery or vein from the body is connected or grafted to the blocked coronary artery. The grafted artery or vein bypasses (goes around) the blocked portion of the coronary artery. This creates a new path for oxygen-rich blood to flow to the heart muscles. Periodic review and changed lifestyle prevents blockage in grafted arteries. These surgeries are available at Paras HMRI.

What types of artificial valves are available in Paras HMRI?

We have mechanical valves and biological valves. In mechanical valve, the blood-thinner process is required lifelong, while in biological it is not. Patients above 50 years are implanted biological valves as it has a life span of 20 years whereas mechanical valves are implanted in people of a younger age group.

How to change the mindset of people who prefer going outside Bihar for these surgeries?

This is what we have to do. Though it will take time, once people realise that the same quality of treatment is available in Patna they will stop going outside. Cost of surgery plays a major role. One has to shell out Rs 2.5 to Rs 3.5 lakh at Max Super Speciality Hospital and Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, the same surgery is available at Rs 1.5 to 1.7 lakh at Paras. This is nearly half of the cost incurred on going for surgery outside the state when the cost of stay in metro cities is considered. In the past month, 30 bypass surgeries were performed at Paras HMRI.

What are the constraints concerning heart disease?

That we have to educate people about the disease. Though they come with heart problems, they do not have any knowledge of the problem they are suffering from.