Cardiology block, CT scan unit opened at VHS

Voluntary Health Services (VHS) on Friday launched a cardiology block with focus on preventive interventions, a CT scan unit and C-Arm X-ray image intensifier facility and rehabilitation wards for the elderly with medical and psycho-social disability.

The cardiology block has been named Jayalakshmi and Varadhachari Cardiology Block and the rehabilitation wards, Kamala and S. Krishnaswamy Block after their principal donors/families.

The CT scan and C-Arm facility is a collaborative venture with MedALL diagnostics providers.

Launching the facilities, Principal Secretary Health V.K. Subburaj called for creating community awareness of the five most common risk factors for cardio-vascular diseases —alcohol, smoking, blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and mental stress.

While avoiding alcohol and smoking alone could cut risk factors of heart disease by 50 per cent, advocacy of healthy diet and exercise were also key interventions in preventive cardiology, he said.

What was more alarming was that the mortality rate due to cardio-vascular complications had increased three-fold from 10 per cent in 1900 to about 30 per cent now, he said.

The health care sector in the country was not well equipped to cater to the estimated annual requirement for about 25 lakh heart surgeries, which cost anywhere between Rs.3 lakh to Rs.20 lakh depending on the complexity of the condition and nature of the hospital, he said.

Only about one lakh surgeries were performed in India leaving a huge gap in cardiology services for the majority of those who required it. Preventive programmes had become critical in such a scenario, he said.

E.S. Krishnamoorthy, VHS Honorary Secretary, said while the new facilities could not boast of being the most advanced in their specialities, they fulfilled the VHS motto of making optimum healthcare technologies available to the common man.

N. Subramanian, cardiology consultant, VHS, said it was proposed to start collaborative courses with IGNOU and the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University to generate certified paramedical technicians.

The cardiology unit also wanted to launch a community-based field survey in preventive cardiology. Raju Venkataraman, Managing Director, MedALL scan services, said the diagnostics provider was engaged in a supporting role to physicians in making diagnosis affordable and accessible.

K.V. Thiruvengadam, physician, said the cardiology leadership at VHS could be expected to stick to the basic principles of bedside medicine without over-depending on investigations in place of clinical evaluation.

S. Soundararajan, one of the major donors, suggested that the VHS, while adhering to its pro-poor philosophy, should also improve facilities at its payment wards.

S. Janaki and Malini Balakrishnan, VHS administrators also participated.