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Patients Can Continue Treatment of Heart Ailments Safely Through Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Leading cardiac surgeon warns against neglecting heart diseases during the pandemic

ABP Digital Brand Studio   |   Published 31.05.21, 12:01 PM

The outbreak of Covid-19, the most destructive communicable disease humankind has known in close to a century, does not mean that the possibility of being afflicted by other diseases has been eliminated. Severe non-communicable illnesses, such as those concerning the heart, still remain critical and must be addressed at the earliest.

“Even though we know that Covid-19 has overwhelmed humankind and is causing a lot of problems, there are still non-communicable diseases that are also causing a lot of harm to patients,” warned Dr Sushan Mukhopadhyay, head of the department of cardiac surgery, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata.

Dr Mukhopadhyay conceded that it is natural for patients to be sceptical of visiting a hospital during a pandemic, but also observed that “various studies from various parts of the world have shown that patients with emergency non-communicable diseases have landed up in problems because they were wary of visiting hospitals.”

With the onset of Covid-19, major non-communicable diseases like heart problems have not become any less frequent. However, according to Dr Mukhopadhyay, new methods of treatment have emerged to combat these diseases, which are more suited to a pandemic situation.

One such example is minimally invasive cardiac surgery. This kind of a surgery involves making small incisions in the chest to reach the heart between the ribs, instead of cutting through the breastbone, as is done in an open-heart surgery.

The incisions are not more than one or two inches wide, and Dr Mukhopadhyay believes that minimally invasive cardiac surgery ensures that “the hospital stay is very less, the blood requirement and the pain endured are less, as well as that the patient goes home back sooner and bounces back faster.”

“We have done about 200 to 250 surgeries (involving the minimally invasive procedure) during Covid times… most of these have been coronary artery bypass surgeries required due to ischemic heart disease, which are emergency problems, and if not treated immediately, can cost a patient their life,” added Dr Mukhopadhyay.

To emphasise how Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata has adjusted to the pandemic, Dr Mukhopadhyay explained how the minimally invasive cardiac surgeries performed by his department follow “a strict protocol that ensures all spaces remain closed and sterilised and that there is no chance of the air of one operating theatre’s air column entering another operating theatre’s air column. Moreover, during anesthesia, the patient’s respiratory tract is isolated and connected to a closed loop ventilator so that the air from the theatre does not enter their respiratory system.”

He also mentioned that before patients are admitted for a cardiac surgery, an RT-PCR test is conducted on them to ensure that they have not been infected by Covid-19.

“Apollo Hospitals is a multi-speciality hospital and we are equipped with hepa filters and air flow systems that prevent bacteria and virus cross-flow ventilation. Our health workers are periodically checked for Covid infections and allowed to work only when they are infection-free. We try to keep the patient as safe as possible. We can’t say that it is a 100 percent foolproof system, but there are three aspects in treating a patient during these times. Number one is the patient’s safety, number two is the safety of the healthcare workers, and number three is the sterility, safety, and cleanliness of the hospital,” said Dr Mukhopadhyay.

He urged everyone to follow all Covid-19 safety protocols but not to neglect other serious health conditions.

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