A man with a broken heart was treated at Government Stanley Hospital earlier this week.

When 24-year-old Joseph, a painter, first walked into the outpatient department of the hospital on Monday complaining of abdominal pain, doctors suspected gastritis caused by stomach ulcers.

They sent him to a general surgeon for an evaluation. There, Joseph explained that for more than a month, he had suffered. He’d vomited blood, had fainted frequently, had no appetite and lived on milk and juice.

Doctors then referred him to a cardiologist for an examination. “An echo-cardiogram showed that he had suffered an infarction, a sudden arrest of blood circulation in one of the blood vessels,” said K. Damodaran, head of cardiothoracic surgery.

As the condition is common among elderly women but not in young manual labourers, doctors advised him to get admitted. An angiogram revealed a rupture in the left ventricle of the heart, causing blood to flow into the pericardium, the membrane covering the heart.

“Joseph had a ruptured heart. He required immediate surgery. We decided to do a patchwork procedure,” said Dr. Damodaran. On Tuesday, four surgeons led by Dr. Damodaran conducted the intricate procedure. “We initially thought it was an aneurysm. The area of rupture is close to the aortic valve, and we had to be very certain about the precise location in order to determine on a procedure,” he explained.

Post-surgery, an examination revealed that Joseph had not suffered another infarction, which would be common in such cases. The rupture had been sutured effectively, and Joseph did not require a lengthy recovery period.

His mother, Denelia, said the family was from Vyasarpadi, but is now living in Red Hills. “He is so young and has a child too. I was worried about him. The doctors have helped him recover,” she said.

Hospital dean S. Geethalakshmi said the procedure had been made possible due to the funds received under the Chief Minister’s health insurance scheme. ‘

“We have earned Rs. 20 crore and were able to procure the patch without delay. In such cases, it is essential that the patient is treated at a centre that has the expertise to carry out such procedures. Our doctors have the expertise to treat such conditions,” she added.

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