New Delhi (India), June 30: On this special occasion of Doctors’ Day, we celebrate the remarkable advancements in cardiology and the dedicated healthcare professionals who tirelessly work to improve heart health. Here are some outstanding doctors who have dedicated their lives to saving hearts and improving the lives of countless individuals.

Dr. Pavan Kumar, MBBS, MS – General Surgery, MCh – Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Sr. Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai 

Heart health is crucial for overall well-being, yet cardiovascular problems continue to rise. Despite advancements in technology, many misconceptions surround cardiac surgery, hindering awareness and perpetuating false assumptions.

Contrary to general perception, prompt diagnosis and timely surgical intervention is vital to prevent irreversible damage caused by heart disease. Another misconception is that the heart is completely removed from the body during surgery. In reality, the heart is only taken out during heart transplantation. Moreover, modern surgical practices have significantly reduced the risk of heart stroke and brain dysfunction. Cardiac surgeries are performed under anaesthesia, ensuring minimal discomfort for the patient. With advancements in technology and medical practices, the risks associated with cardiac surgeries, such as valve replacement or bypass surgery, have greatly diminished.

While surgeries present challenges, risks, and rewards, relying on assumptions or hearsay can jeopardize your heart health. Trusting your doctor’s recommendations, rather than popular beliefs, is crucial for effective treatment.

Dr. G V P Rao, MBBS, DNB (Med), FICC (Card), PhD (Card), DSc (Card), MCSI, MACC, PhD (Heart Failure), Sr. Consultant Cardiologist & Philanthropist, Specialist in Interventional Heart Failure, & Rehabilitation, Founder & CEO – Hridhayam Heart Clinic & Medi Heart Care Foundation, Nashik
Technological advancements in cardiology have expanded the ability to treat patients with complex cardiac and coronary anatomy. Novel devices and advanced imaging techniques have revolutionized the management of complex coronary anatomy and valvular diseases. Bioabsorbable vascular scaffolds have emerged as a breakthrough in coronary stenting, while advanced 3D imaging enables precise diagnosis and treatment of complex coronary and structural issues. Furthermore, transcatheter interventional procedures like TAVR, TPVR, TMVR, and tricuspid valve coaptation devices have revolutionized the management of structural heart disease. The use of decellularized hearts as scaffolds, composed of native extracellular matrix, provides an ideal platform for reconstructing functional cardiac tissue.

With the extraordinary experience of more than 20 years in his career, he has served society, especially rural India, for over a decade in preventing heart attacks through awareness programs. These programs aimed to help people understand the importance of heart health and focused on heart failure and rehabilitation.

He has completed nearly 20,000 interventional procedures and conducted numerous social cardiac awareness camps for the poor. Furthermore, he has been recognized and received accolades from various national and international bodies.

Dr. Virbhan Balai, MBBS, DLO, MD (Gen. Medicine), DNB (Cardiology), FNB (Interventional Cardiology), Consultant- Interventional Cardiology, Manipal Hospital Dwarka, New Delhi

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally, accounting for 17.9 million deaths. Of these, 85% are attributed to heart attacks and strokes. On Doctor’s Day, I appeal to people of all ages not to neglect their health. By adopting simple measures like lifestyle modifications, cholesterol reduction, blood pressure and blood sugar control, quitting smoking, avoiding abdominal obesity and stress, engaging in daily physical activities, and consuming fruits and vegetables regularly, we can reduce the risk of heart attacks by over 90%.

Regular yoga practice is also beneficial. Recent advances in cardiovascular science include refined techniques like transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), which allows for a non-surgical replacement of narrowed aortic valves. In the MitraClip procedure, a metallic clip is transcutaneously implanted on the mitral valve leaflets, thus averting the need for major surgery. MitraClip implantation significantly reduces mitral regurgitation and improves symptoms.

Dr. S. S. Murthy, MBBS, DNB, MNAMS, Director & HOD – Ayushman Hospital, New Delhi
Advances in stent technology, including the development of bio-absorbable stent material (Magnesium-based) and Drug-Eluting Balloons, will increase the armamentarium and make the procedures safer and stents more long-lasting. It will decrease the incidence of stent thrombosis (blockage in the stents with clots). Imaging techniques such as intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), OCT, and spectroscopy help identify the mechanisms of arterial blockage and facilitate the safe placement of stents, reducing complications. The use of calcium-cutting instruments inside the arteries, such as the Rotablation device (a drill with diamond cutting chips embedded in it), Orbital Atherectomy device, and Intravascular Lithotripsy balloon (IVL), has made angioplasty much easier and safer, where it was previously not possible. Laser Technique (ELCA) usage in uncrossable lesions has improved the chances of PTCA in CTO lesions.

“These techniques have made stenting more durable, and now multi-vessel stenting is equivalent to bypass surgery in terms of long-term survival over a period of 10 years or more.”

Dr. Annie Arvind, MD [Paediatrics], DNB [Paediatric Cardiology], Associate Consultant Paediatric Cardiology, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon

This Doctor’s Day, I would like to emphasize the importance of screening, early diagnosis, and timely intervention in congenital heart disease (CHD), which significantly increases a baby’s chance of survival into adulthood. With advancements in pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery, it’s possible to repair or palliate most CHDs, including complex ones. Considering the fact that 12 out of 1000 newborns have congenital heart disease, timely treatment can provide a normal and productive life.

Pulse Oximetry can pick up critical CHD at an early stage in the neonatal period. Symptoms such as fast and difficult breathing, poor weight gain, and poor appetite, bluish discoloration of the tongue or lips, and recurrent lower respiratory tract infections should prompt parents to seek pediatric cardiac opinion. Lastly, every pregnant female should opt for second-trimester fetal echocardiography, a remarkable innovation in the realm of pediatric cardiology, which can detect CHD antenatally and enable life-saving intervention in babies with severe CHD who are at risk in the first week of life itself.

Dr. Kalpesh S. Malik, MBBS, M.S General Surgery, M.CH (CVTS), ISSA, IFBB, Cardio-Vascular & Thoracic Surgeon, Mumbai

A healthy heart ensures a good quality of life. The main diagnostic tools for assessing heart health are the echocardiogram and coronary angiography. These tests provide further insights into whether the patient requires angioplasty or cardiac surgery. There is a common misconception among the public that cardiac surgery is a risky procedure and should only be considered as a last resort when all other treatment options have been exhausted. However, with the advancements in anesthesia and surgical techniques, cardiac surgery now carries a very low risk of complications and mortality. Patients can expect to return to their normal lives within a short period of time after the surgery. It is important to trust the advice of your doctor rather than relying on hearsay or gossip. Dr. Kalpesh S. Malik has an overall experience of more than 26 years in cardiac surgeries and has independently operated more than 13500 cardiac surgeries, including cardiac defects in children and neonates.

Dr. Sanjeev Gera, MBBS, MD, DNB, Director Cardiac Sciences – Fortis Hospital, Noida

India accounts for approximately 60% of worldwide heart disease, which is a leading cause of death. Recently, there has been a surge in younger patients presenting with heart attacks and cardiac arrests. The key to preventing heart disease and heart attacks is early detection, which involves risk factor stratification and some noninvasive tests. The standard diagnostic tests have been ECG, echocardiography, and exercise stress tests. Unfortunately, these tests can only diagnose significant heart blockages but may miss intermediate stenosis in the arteries. The CT calcium score is a useful diagnostic modality for predicting future heart events in individuals with risk factors for heart attacks, especially diabetes. Advanced techniques like IVUS and OCT can help us identify vulnerable blocks during coronary angiograms. These imaging techniques, along with plaque modification devices like lithotripsy and atherectomy, lead to better patient outcomes. We utilize all these modalities to detect heart disease at an early stage and implement effective preventive measures.

Dr. Amjad Shaikh, Consultant Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Navi Mumbai
Beating Heart Total Arterial Bypass Surgery: A Blessing for the Heart

The gold standard treatment for coronary artery disease is bypass surgery. A person’s own arteries are used for grafting, which can function effectively for 15 to 20 years. The mortality rate of this surgery is less than 1%, making it very safe in today’s era. Nowadays, bypass surgery is performed on a beating heart, eliminating complications associated with the heart-lung machine.

In total arterial bypass surgery, we utilize both arteries from the chest wall for bypass grafting without making any cuts on the legs or hands. Using both internal mammary arteries is far superior to using veins or hand arteries, as approximately 95% of them remain patent even after 20 years post-surgery. Once this surgery is performed, patients are almost free of symptoms for years. They can enjoy life like normal individuals without the fear of heart attacks. Most importantly, it increases the longevity of patients.

Dr. Lal Daga, MBBS, DNB (Med.), DNB (Card) MNAMS, FESC (International), FEAC, Advanced Cardiology Training Programme (Seoul), Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Apollo Hospital, Ahmedabad

A healthy heart is crucial not just for overall well-being but also for reducing the health burden because cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death and hospitalization. Early diagnosis and treatment of heart disorders are vital, but prevention is even more important.

Advancements in cardiac treatment have improved overall survival rates through precise interventions. Now, angioplasties are performed in tier 1 and tier 2 cities using IVUS/OCT-guided stenting. IVUS guidance has enabled minimal contrast angioplasties. Procedures like 2D and 3D mapping EP studies and RF ablations are available for certain lethal conditions.

Percutaneous therapies are now also available for managing all valve disorders. Pacemaker offers longer life and it has improved functionality based on physiological variations. Implanting ICDs in selected patients helps to prevent sudden death.

New drugs have reduced hospitalizations and increased survival for most heart failure patients. CRT can be implanted in the LBBB group of patients to improve function and survival. Common symptoms of heart disease include chest discomfort, breathlessness, fatigue, palpitations, and giddiness. Common risk factors are diabetes, hypertension, smoking, stress, and a family history of heart disease.

Dr. Mohit M Bhagwati, DNB Cardiology, Interventional Cardiologist and Incharge – Acute Cardiac Care, Holy Family Hospital, New Delhi

Drug-Eluting Balloon: Now, safe angioplasty without stents is possible. As we honor Doctors’ Day, we recognize the remarkable contributions of medical professionals who constantly strive to improve patient care. Among the latest innovative advancements in Cardiology, the drug-eluting balloon stands out as a game-changer in cardiovascular medicine. This cutting-edge device combines the benefits of angioplasty and drug delivery, offering a novel approach to treating narrowed or blocked arteries, as well as blockages in previously deployed stents. Unlike traditional angioplasty, which only mechanically opens the vessel, the drug-eluting balloon releases medication directly into the affected area, preventing restenosis or re-narrowing of the artery. This breakthrough technology reduces the need for stents and can improve long-term outcomes for patients. Our experience with drug-eluting balloons has been very satisfactory. Today, we applaud our colleagues across the globe who leads these advancements, pushing the boundaries of medical innovation and ensuring a healthier future for us all. Happy Doctors’ Day!

Cardio doctors are at the forefront of cutting-edge cardiology advancements, harnessing the power of innovative technologies and techniques to improve patient outcomes. From non-invasive imaging modalities and state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to ground-breaking interventional procedures and precision medicine, they continuously strive to provide the best possible care to their patients.

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