Advanced Heart Pump Leases New Life to Chennai Banker

A 42-year-old banker, who was suffering from heart disorders for the last 2 years, has had a pump installed that costs at the least US $100,000.

As being on the HVAD (Heartware Ventricular Assist Device), the doctors cannot feel his pulse. The device is capacitive to pump about 10 L of blood per minute.

Mr. C. Sathish Kumar has the heart pump implant almost a month ago, when he fainted at his car’s wheel while driving home on a Sunday evening, after a family dinner outing. Hearing the family’s cry for help, Fortis Malar Hospital’s lab technician revived Mr. Kumar through on-the-spot cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Thereafter, Mr. Kumar was without delay transferred to a hospital. To revive Mr. Kumar’s heart, continually electric shocks were given. It took about 150 shocks to stabilize his heart as he suffered from arrhythmia.

Mr. C. Sathish Kumar was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, which is referred to as end-stage heart failure, a condition in which the main chambers of the heart fail to pump blood. All that was required was an immediate heart transplant, but in Chennai, where heart transplant is very common, it would have taken about 3 months of wait for the surgery.

Doctors suggested Mr. Kumar a solution of a golf-ball sized pump to be transplanted that would successfully take up the function of the heart. He was also informed about the success of the device and the heart pump implant assures an average life of about 10 years.

The recovery was responsively, post surgery. Mr. Kumar was off the ventilators within 16 hours of the surgery and he was out of the ICU, within a week.

Suganthi, wife of Mr. Kumar, recalls her husband “looking energetic within days of surgery.” More likely, he is expected to get back to work in October.

“We have sent his heart tissues for biopsy and are awaiting the results. He is only 42 years old and we cannot guarantee the implant will last another 40 years as it has not been around that long. We think there is a 50 per cent of his (biological) heart reviving its function. If that happens, the implant can be removed”, says Mr. K. R. Balakrishnan, head of cardiac sciences.

Dr. K.G. Suresh Rao, chief of Cardiac Anaesthesia & Critical Care, informs that this smallest device properly fits within the space around the heart. Dr. Rao said, “Earlier, some patients have received an LVAD – the left ventricular assist device. But HVAD is the latest in the series.”

However, Mr. Kumar will be on lifelong anti-coagulation drugs and medication will also be provided to keep a check on his blood pressure. Doctor informed that Mr. Kumar can lead a normal life and do rigorous exercises.

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