The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctors for cardiac care code

When Arup Ganguly’s blood pressure first touched the 140/110 mark he panicked and consulted a cardiologist who put him on pressure-reducing drugs. After a few months, Ganguly decided to see another cardiologist, who detected that he had high cholesterol and angina. The doctor prescribed angiography and a possible surgery. Not convinced with the diagnosis, Ganguly consulted yet another doctor, who put him on a combination of drugs and lifestyle modification, ruling out surgery.

What Ganguly experienced is nothing new as most Calcuttans complain of different treatment modalities and opinions given by cardiologists for a common ailment. Waking up to the issue, Cardiological Society of India (CSI) has decided to frame a common guideline, Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), for cardiological ailments.

Concerned with the rise in heart diseases among Calcuttans, especially coronary artery diseases (CAD) in the 40-60 age group, cardiologists feel a more concerted approach is needed through a common treatment protocol.

Come December and the CSI-affiliated doctors will sit down with experts for a brainstorming session to try and frame a guideline for varying cardiac ailments based on clinical data and case histories, known as EBM studies.

“Our central theme for the conference will be EBM in cardiology. We feel it’s time for us to sit together and follow a single guideline for all cardiac problems,” said cardiologist Ashok Kar, organising secretary of the CSI conference.

Once EBM comes into effect, cardiologists feel complaints of negligence will come down and cardiac treatment will also improve. “It is true that cardiologists do not strictly follow a clear guideline,” admitted cardiac-surgeon Ajay Kaul.

Cardiac diseases from unstable angina to heart block has also increased significantly in the 35-45 age group. The worrying factor is that 50 per cent of the cases come back with a recurrence of the problem. According to conservative estimates, one in every 10 persons with cardiac problems in the city is a CAD patient. “The figure is slightly better in rural areas where one in 20 reportedly suffers from CAD. But, all these patients are getting different opinions from different consultants,” said Kar.

Another example of how treatment protocol is flouted can be gauged from the way hypertension and high blood pressure are treated. “We get cases where hypertension has been treated with different dosages of medicines producing disastrous results. This cannot be accepted,” he added.

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