The use of primary angioplasty as a life-saving emergency procedure to save heart attack victims has grown in Kerala; so has the number of healthcare institutions in the State with the facility to do angioplasty. Over 1.5 lakh people suffer cardiac arrests every year in Kerala, with about one-third of them dying, interventional cardiologists, Prathap Kumar and Madhu Sreedharan said here on Thursday.

Primary angioplasty - performed during a heart attack as an emergency procedure - is the single- most rewarding of all medical procedures in the world because it saves lives.

The limiting factor in the country is the cost involved and the lack of centres capable of doing angioplasty round the clock, they said, at a press conference to announce the annual Interventional Cardiology Conference of Kerala (ICCK – 2013), to be held here on August 10 and 11.

From 42 centres offering angioplasty facilities in Kerala in 2011, the number grew to 65 in 2012.

The number of primary angioplasty performed grew by 20 per cent from 5,600 to 6,714 in a year. Similarly the number of all angioplasty procedures also went up by about 30 per cent, from 19,000 to 24,500 in the State.

The introduction of Karunya scheme by the government has been a great boon to many patients, whose lives could be saved through primary angioplasty, doctors pointed out.

Over 150 cardiologists from across the State are expected to participate in ICCK, which will discuss the latest advances and trends in interventional cardiology.