A healthy heart, the narrow way

Open, bypass surgeries give way to minimally invasive techniques

Gone are the days when complex heart diseases required only open or bypass surgeries. Minimally invasive techniques are now becoming a common method for their diagnosis and treatment, claim cardio-vascular professionals.

The new practices have altered the procedures being adopted by healthcare professionals and doctors. Kerala reportedly has the highest number of advanced cardiac catheterisation labs for treating complex heart ailments in the country.

Functionaries of the Society of Invasive Cardio-Vascular Professionals say the latest imaging techniques provide a three-dimensional view of the surgical fields enabling catheter-based interventions with extreme precision even in complex cases.

“Blocking of blood vessels is the main reason for most of the heart ailments. Compared with open or bypass surgeries, only limited incision is required for minimally invasive procedures such as angioplasty,” says T. Mohan Kumar, Society of Invasive Cardio-Vascular Professionals. A tiny balloon catheter is inserted in a blocked blood vessel to help widen it and improve the blood flow to the heart. It is often accompanied by the insertion of a small wire mesh tube called stent that helps prop the artery open, reducing chances of its narrowing again, he says. Most stents are coated with medication to help keep the artery open.

Mr. Mohan Kumar says angioplasty is now preferred for partial, complete and multiple heart blocks, and only in severe cases bypass surgery is advised.


“Faster discharge from hospitals is one of the benefits of minimally invasive procedures. While bypass surgery requires patients to be in hospital between one to 10 days, they can be discharged within three days after angioplasty. It can be performed faster as well,” he says. Only local anesthesia is given for angioplasty. Bypass surgery requires proper anesthesia, accompanied by the possibility of further complications. The death rate after angioplasty is lower too. “If the patient has other diseases, the risk is higher in bypass surgery. In angioplasty, it is relatively low and the patient will be comfortable,” Mr. Mohankumar says. Bleeding and post-operative pain will be less, and the scars will be smaller.

“If primary angioplasty is done within six hours of heart attack, the chances of patient survival are higher. However, bypass surgeries cannot be done on such patients and there will be variation in their heart beat and the pumping of blood will be less,” Mr. Mohankumar claims.

There is also difference in the cost of procedure. Depending on the condition of patients, angioplasty is less expensive by around ₹50,000, he notes.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 4:56:49 AM |

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