Workshop to focus on prevention of heart attacks

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: With less invasive procedures replacing bypass surgeries in the treatment of coronary artery disease the world over, interventional cardiologists are now looking at ways to improve the outcome of their angioplasty interventions.

Better and thinner friction-free guide wires to navigate towards the blocked artery, drug-coated stents to scaffold the artery that has been dilated and newer techniques of performing angioplasty have made cardiologists more confident than their counterparts in the early days of the procedure invented by German physician Andreas Gruentzig in 1977.

Though gaining popularity as the first line of treating CAD, angioplasties may never displace bypass surgery.

The chief attractions of angioplasty are the less invasive nature, shorter hospital stay and speed of rehabilitation.

"The procedures represent two ways of tackling a traffic bottleneck. Coronary bypass opens up an alternative route right around the block while angioplasty opens the block itself to restore a near normal flow (of blood)," said S. Thanikachalam, chief cardiologist at Sri Ramachandra Medical College (SRMC). Of all the pictures on an angiogram, what disturbs cardiologists the most is the image of Chronic Total Occlusion or complete obstruction of a vessel for over a period of 1-3 months.

Such patients whose heart functions are lowered to about 30 per cent of normal efficiency are ideal candidates for a heart attack.

"But more than the heart attack itself which a person could survive is the damage wrought on the heart muscle," Dr. Thankachalam said.

The current management maxim is to open the arterial CTO as early as possible and save the cardiac muscle to cut down mortality and morbidity.

"With the availability of cheaper stents, the benefits of interventional cardiology could reach more patients in India," said G. Sengottuvelu, consultant cardiologist, SRMC.

One-day workshop

A one-day workshop organised by SRMC in collaboration with Japan's Showa University Northern Yokohama Hospital on Sunday will update cardiologists from all over India on new procedures for managing chronic total occlusion.

A highlight will be the live procedures performed by Masahiko Ochiai, cardiology professor at Showa.