In what can be called as a rare feat, cardio-thoracic surgeons at the Government General Hospital, performed surgical correction of a congenital heart defect in a 30-year old woman under 'spinal epidural anesthesia'. This surgery has so far been done only under general anesthesia.
This new surgical innovation has been named as 'awake open heart surgery', as the patient remains conscious during the entire surgery. The sensation of pain would however be blocked.
Shanthi, a resident of Gudiyatham (Vellore district) had been diagnosed with a congenital heart disease (CHD) called atrial septal defect (a hole between two atriums of the heart). She was suffering from severe breathing related problems, at the time of diagnosis. She was referred to the cardiothoracic department of the Government General Hospital, headed by Dr Harshavardhan, for further evaluation and treatment.
"This is the first time in the country that such a surgery was undertaken in a government set up by administering epidural anesthesia," in the opinion of the surgical team.
According to Dr S Visvakumar, a member of the surgical team, the patient was fully conscious during the procedure and experienced no pain. "This surgery is cost-effective as it involved less hospital stay and less morbidity", he said.
The entire treatment has been offered free of cost as the surgery has been done at the Government Hospital.