Quite a milestone in the advancement of cardiac care in India, for this is the first time an artificial heart pump has been installed in the chest cavity of a 42-year-old man with a rare heart disease.
The procedure was successfully conducted at the Fortis Malar hospital in Chennai by Dr. K. R. Balakrishnan, who is the director of the Cardiac Sciences Division.
The Heartware Ventricular Assist Device (HVAD) gave the patient, Satish Kumar, the ability to carry on with his life and revive his heart, which was once functioning at only 15 percent.
As the transplant could take at least three months, depending on the availability of a healthy heart, installing the pump was the only option.
"Since the average waiting time for a transplant in our hospital is around three months and in his current circumstances three months waiting was too long, we decided to go ahead and put in an artificial heart pump. So this pump is very small, this is around 150 grams and can deliver upto 10 litres of blood flow per minute and can be completely inside the chest cavity because its size of a small lemon and it has only one cable coming out of the body, which is the power sources, which is four millimetres thick and then its connected to a battery, which can be worn on the shoulder like a laptop inside a bag," said Balakrishnan.
Kumar was diagnosed with end-stage heart failure, medically referred to as dilated Cardiomyopathy, a condition due to which the heart's main chambers fail to pump blood.
"I now feel more energetic than I was previously. Previously I used to dose off in front of my computer or while watching TV, now I feel more energetic and my sleeping is also better," said Kumar.
A banker by profession, Kumar underwent the surgery last month and was admitted in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for a week.
Doctors recalled that Kumar collapsed on the steering wheel of his car just outside the Fortis hospital, while returning home after having dinner with his family.
A hospital employee gave him Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the spot and brought him to the hospital where he was given 150 shocks to revive his heart.