The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pocket-sized alarm bell in cardiac care

A pocket-sized device that facilitates early cardiac detection and timely, low-cost treatment could soon provide the state health department with an effective tool to better manage and control its rapidly-growing cardiac diseased population.

A delegation from UK-based cardiac-care tech giant Cardionetics Ltd, which met director of health services C.R. Maiti on Wednesday at Writers' Buildings with a demonstration of the diagnostic contraption's efficacy in the primary and secondary sectors, is happy with the government’s initial response.

“He (Maiti) seemed quite receptive to the concept of deploying the device to screen cardiac patients better at the primary level without taxing the tertiary infrastructure overmuch,” said Cardionetics CEO Chris Francis. The UK firm has been asked to do a detailed presentation before health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra.

The C.Net2000+ is “a unique” ambulatory ECG monitor and event recorder, providing fast and accurate real-time analysis and classification of cardiac arrhythmia and morphology changes, and is designed for physician use to provide referral decision support, Francis explained.

The Maharashtra government is about to sign a major investment deal with the UK firm to use the device in its district hospitals, he added.

“It can ring the initial alarm bell. The early detection, management and control of the patient provides much improved care and dramatically reduces the risk of disease progress and later complications,” said Brian Glenville, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon with St Mary's Hospital, London, and director, medical affairs, Cardionetics.

Glenville, who earlier in the day attended a live interventional workshop in the city, said while evaluating the performance of a healthcare institution, emphasis should be laid on the overall performance and a unit “should live or die on its collective results”.

The workshop on drug eluting stents was organised by the Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS).

Joining the debate on the therapy of choice for the management of coronary artery disease, Glenville said: “Angioplasty and CABG (coronary artery bypass grafting) shouldn’t be seen as competing against each other, but as complementary to each other. The key is identifying the right patient for the right procedure at the right time.”

Terming the quality of heart surgery in Calcutta as “excellent”, the London-based surgeon lauded RTIICS for its “transparent philosophy”. The heart hospital, which was the first in eastern India to deploy the drug eluting stent, invited all 150 patients who were implanted with the device to the hospital for free review angiograms.

Kunal Sarkar, senior cardiac surgeon with RTIICS, felt it was necessary to temper the huge burst of euphoria over the drug eluting stent with pragmatism. “It's definitely an advance in the armoury of angioplasty, but the device has to be used most judiciously in our country, where the insurance umbrella is not so generous,” he observed.

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