10 more Kerala centres to offer non-surgical heart treatment

September 8th, 2008 - 2:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 8 (IANS) A non-surgical procedure to treat heart ailments, which was being conducted at just one centre here for over a year, will now be offered at 10 more centres across Kerala.Called Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP), the totally non-invasive treatment is currently being offered by Medlinks Cardiocare Pvt Ltd under the aegis of the Doctors Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine and Research Centre (DDNMRC) in the heart of the state capital.

“There are 47 such centres in India and we were the pioneers in using this in Kerala. Seeing the huge success of this, we are joining hands with the exclusive distributor of EECP machines in the country, Vasomeditech Pvt Ltd, Chennai to open 10 more centres in Kerala,” K. Ajith Joy, a nuclear cardiologist and managing director of Medlinks Cardiocare, told reporters here late Sunday.

Medlinks announced an investment of Rs.100 million (Rs.10 crores) for setting up these 10 centres. The company is also holding talks with many private and public sector hospitals to facilitate such centres in most districts of Kerala.

According to Joy, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the procedure in 1995, but it became available in India only in 2006 and DDNMRC began using it to treat patients a year ago.

“Heart patients who have undergone angioplasties and bypass surgeries earlier and have been found to have persisting symptoms and those patients who have been told that they are at high risk for surgery or are inoperable due to age need not worry any more, since EECP has successfully addressed such a situation at several centres across the world,” said S. Ramasamy, director of Vasomeditech Pvt Ltd.

EECP is a totally non-invasive treatment, where air-filled cuffs similar to blood pressure cuffs are tied around the patient’s calves, thighs and buttocks to sequentially inflate and pump blood from the entire lower extremities to the heart at a time when the heart receives blood.

The blood that is pumped to the heart opens up new alternative channels called collaterals, which supply blood to the deprived heart muscle to strengthen it and helps it function better.

“Due to this phenomenon, EECP is also called a ‘natural bypass’. The treatment consists of consecutive 35 sessions of one hour duration per day, and can be administered on an out patient basis. This treatment involves no risk or side effects to the patient,” said Joy, who has treated over 75 patients since the centre opened here.

The firm said that it also hopes to expand services to the Maldives, Sri Lanka and the Middle East.

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