The Telegraph
Thursday , November 7 , 2013
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Fishy advice for healthy heart


Paras HMRI Hospital of Patna is providing specialised treatment in several fields under one roof. Shuchismita Chakraborty spoke to Pramod Kumar, head of the department, cardiology, about the kind of treatments the hospital is offering for heart patients.

What kind of cardiac treatments, unavailable in other hospitals, are you offering the residents? Do you plan to start some special treatments?

We will start arrhythmia treatment at the hospital from next month. Arrhythmia is a condition when the heartbeats become irregular and too fast (tachycardia). The treatment involves burning a small portion of the heart (which leads to the irregularity of the heart) through radio frequency waves. This treatment is known as ablation. At present, no hospital in Patna provides this facility.

We will soon have an electrical physiology lab, which will help us to do electrophysiological testing. It is an invasive, relatively painless and non-surgical test that helps determine the type of arrhythmia. We aim to provide healthcare facilities on a par with the hospitals in Delhi and Calcutta, so that Patna residents do not need to visit other cities for cardiac treatment.

What kind of sophisticated machines are available at your hospital, or do you plan to buy them?

We have all the necessary equipment. Next month, we will install an intravascular ultrasound machine, a sophisticated equipment that allows a clear image of the coronary arteries. It gives clear images of arterial plaques (clogged arteries), which lead to heart diseases. Heart diseases are the result of plaque build-up in the coronary arteries. The intravascular ultrasound machine is important for angioplasty, too. It helps diagnose heart problems and detect how effective is angioplasty on a patient. Among other equipment, we will procure a cath lab (an examination room with diagnostic imaging equipment used to visualise the arteries and chambers of the heart and treat any abnormality found) worth around Rs 3 crore.

How would you say the hospital is providing cost-effective treatment to residents?

There is no difference if you compare the treatment charges of our hospital with those in the metros. But, still we can claim that we are providing cost-effective treatment because the patients no longer need to move to other cities for the specialised treatments. Going to another city for treatment entails transportation cost of the patient and his/her family members and food and lodging expenses. So, they end up spending a huge amount of money. Now that various specialised treatments for cardiac problems are available here, the people can get avail of the facilities in their hometown and save on expenses.

What are the plans for the cardiology department of Paras HMRI Hospital?

We will start three different outpatient departments dedicated to three most common heart problems — heart failure, hypertension and arrhythmia —in the next month. By starting these dedicated outpatient departments, we will be able to handle heart conditions concerned in a better way.

Generally, when a heart failure patient arrives in the outpatient department, a lot of time is wasted in the different processes. Sometimes the patient reaches the doctor late because the attendants have to complete a lot of formalities. The patient has to go through a lot of tests too. His/her blood pressure and weight are checked. An ECG test is also done. All this takes a lot of time, which might be risky for the patient is he/she is in urgent need of treatment. So, we have decided to start the three outpatient departments.

We also plan to strengthen our team and take in at least two more cardiologists. At present, we have four cardiologists, five junior cardiologists, one surgeon and two anaesthetists. Doctors from reputed hospitals such as the Delhi-based Fortis Hospital and Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Patna have shown interest for the posts.

We will start heart transplant, but it will take time.

What about research on heart diseases? Will your hospital take an initiative in this regard?

Yes, we are seriously thinking about venturing into this field. We are in the process of forming a research ethics committee. We need to get ourselves registered with the Medical Council of India to carry out research work and we will soon do that. Whenever we do start our research work, our first subject will be epidemiology of heart problems in Bihar.

What’s your advice for residents on maintaining a healthy heart?

If people want a healthy heart, they only need to do some simple things. Exercise on a daily basis, eat wisely, reduce salt and fat intake. Saturated fat is very harmful for the heart. Fish is good, fish oil is beneficial for heart patients. As far as health is concerned, sea fish is better than river fish.

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