Get wired, send SMS from your ailing heart!

March 7th, 2008 - 12:02 pm ICT by admin  

By Prashant K. Nanda
New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) This comes straight from the heart. Doctors in the Indian capital have successfully implanted a device on a heart patient that can keep a tab on cardiac problems, send an SMS and even e-mail to the doctor concerned. “The device is as big as a carom striker and is programmed to serve a patient better. We have successfully implanted the device in a 55-year-old lady from Kolkata and this is the first-of-its-kind implant in South Asia,” said Viveka Kumar, cardiologist and electro physiologist at Max Devki Devi Hospital here.

A US-based company, Medtronic CareLink Network, is the manufacturer of the device called Medtronic Virtuoso ICD.

“After the implant, the device can send an alert SMS and e-mail to doctors every time the patient faces any problem in the heart. If the patient wants then a ‘patient alert system’ can be given to him or her that has the facility to flash alert visuals to the patient,” Kumar told IANS.

The patient alert system is an external device that allows heart patients to automatically receive visual notification on a special home monitor called the ‘patient look indicator’ when their device detects an alert.

The cost of the medical device is nearly Rs.450,000 and the hospital charges for a patient who avails himself of this service is around Rs.80,000.

“After the implant, the patients or the family can get a printout of all the developments taking place inside the heart from a special computer as well. The chip inside the device records all such developments and helps the patient, doctor and the family keep a record of health developments,” the doctor added.

The device also helps the patient contact the doctor without visiting a hospital every three or six months. The alerts can help the patient avert a major crisis, Kumar explained.

“The patient or the family can act ahead of time and help avert a health crisis,” he explained.

Kumar claimed that so far in South Asia, only two patients had implanted the device and he was behind both the cases. While the first was 55-year-old Lalita Saraf from Kolkata, the second was a 66-year-old male from Delhi.

The device was implanted on Saraf Feb 13 and it will take nearly two months before she starts a normal life.

“Lalita was a heart patient of grade C4 which means she was just behind the stage where you need a heart transplant to survive. She was also suffering from water retention in lungs and this was suffocating her a lot,” said P.K. Saraf, her husband.

“After reading a lot of literature, we went for the procedure and doctors have told us that she will be normal in two months. As of now, I can say her clinical condition has improved,” Saraf, a senior official of multinational company, told IANS.

Kumar said these were the initial days of the device in India and it would certainly help tens of thousands of heart patients across the country. In India, about 100,000 patients suffer from the bradycardia problem every year. Bradycardia slows down a person’s heart beat. Experts believe nearly 15,000 patients resort to pacemakers in India annually.

“It’s a much better device than a pacemaker and I am sure a lot of people will go for it in the near future,” Kumar added.

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