55-year old woman successfully undergoes 3 consecutive cardiac procedures

Aravindan Selvaraj, executive director of Kauvery Hospital, with the patient and the team of doctors who treated her on Tuesday.

Aravindan Selvaraj, executive director of Kauvery Hospital, with the patient and the team of doctors who treated her on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: Srinivasan. K. V

Doctors at Kauvery Hospital here performed three successive procedures to save the life of a 55-year-old woman who suffered a cardiac attack and a ventricular tachycardia (VT) storm (life-threatening recurrent episodes of irregular heartbeats in a short span of time).

Addressing the media here on Tuesday, the doctors said they first performed a coronary angioplasty to place a stent and open the blocked artery that caused the heart attack, followed by a radiofrequency (RF) ablation procedure to treat the irregular heart rhythm. The woman subsequently received a percutaneous defibrillator (a kind of pacemaker) implant as a precaution against future episodes of irregular heartbeats.

The doctors said Radha Balaji, who worked as a school teacher, had to undergo external defibrillation 14 times within a span of three to four days to control the VT storm until the RF ablation procedure was performed to permanently address it. “Not many people can handle multiple defibrillation procedures in such a short span. Moreover, these were mostly done when she was conscious. This shows her resolve, which helped immensely in her recovery,” said C. Sundar, senior consultant interventional cardiologist.

Ms. Balaji was brought to the hospital with low blood pressure and heart rate after she suffered a heart attack. According to the doctors, even while the angioplasty to place a stent was being performed, she had a few episodes of irregular heartbeats.

“Many patients do face a few episodes of arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm) soon after a heart attack. However, it stops within 24 to 48 hours. Her case was, however, quite rare, as these life-threatening episodes did not stop and could not be controlled with medications,” Dr. Sundar said.

Further diagnosis and her medical history revealed that she had arrhythmia since a young age, but it did not require medical attention as many could have the condition without it ever becoming harmful, the doctors said.

Deep Chandh Raja, senior consultant cardiologist and clinical lead, cardiac electrophysiology, said a decision was made to perform RF ablation, a minimally invasive procedure to identify and destroy the heart tissues that were causing the irregular rhythms.

“The procedure does not even need the patient to be anaesthetised. It is done with the help of a 3D imaging and navigation system that helps in identifying the tissues emanating the irregular electric signals. These tissues are then destroyed through a controlled heat burn. The entire procedure took about six hours,” Dr. Raja said.

As she was prone to future episodes of arrhythmia, caused by tissues in the other parts of the heart, another procedure was done a few days later to implant a percutaneous defibrillator, he added.

Congratulating the doctors and the patient, Aravindan Selvaraj, the hospital’s co-founder and executive director, attributed the successful treatment to the infrastructure available in the hospital and the doctors who worked as a team, particularly the internationally-trained cardiac electrophysiologists.

He also launched a Kauvery Heart Rhythm Services wing at the hospital on Tuesday to focus specifically on heart rhythm related ailments.

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Printable version | Jul 20, 2022 7:48:51 am |