The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Read a heart, heal it right
- Physicians get a booster dose of modern cardiac-care options

More than 70 per cent of heart attack (myocardial infarction) cases are misdiagnosed at your first neighbourhood medical stop as harmless indigestion-induced discomfort or just a routine backache…. A simple chewable aspirin often keeps a heart-attack patient going till specialised treatment can be reached, but many general practitioners aren’t aware of this….

All this and more came up at a workshop on interventional cardiology, organised by the Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) on Sunday.

It not only gave 300-odd primary-stop physicians a better understanding of the contemporary range of super-speciality treatment options, but also provided them with essential inputs that could save lives.

“We could be saving thrice the number of patients we do now with valvular disease and 10 times more of those with coronary disease, only if all the first-contact physicians had the relevant information to manage emergencies or recognise clinical symptoms,” observed Kunal Sarkar, senior cardiac surgeon at RTIICS, which plans to host such similar workshops every three months.

After watching live video feed of the balloon mitral valvuloplasty — to correct a rheumatic valve disorder — performed successfully on a 22-year-old patient at the super-speciality institute off the Bypass, cardiologist P.K. De of Sodepur commented: “I was worried about treating mitral stenosis in pregnant women. Now, I know all I needed to about the appropriate procedure.”

Doctors from far-flung districts and neighbouring states like Jharkhand and Orissa, besides a large number of practising physicians from the city, attended the workshop to “catch up”. Senior cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon Sushila Sripad (Majumdar) was there to learn more about problems common to surgery and intervention.

“In select cases, a hybrid procedure is the treatment of choice; this interactive platform gave me the scope to explore that option better,” observed the former departmental head of Calcutta Medical College.

For 75-year-old general physician and cardiologist Himangshu Roy, however, the live workshop presented a chance to “keep in touch” with the rapid strides made in interventional cardiology. “It’s sad that an effort to upgrade one’s medical knowledge is not appreciated like it should be in our country. But if I can be here, so should doctors a lot younger,” he smiled.

Kunal Sarkar took a sterner stand: “Attending refresher courses should be made mandatory for all registered doctors… It’s time to strike at the root of the inertia in the medical fraternity for the benefit of our future productive population.”

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