“It was a complex operation but not a complicated one,” says an ecstatic Dr Ramakanta Panda, Vice Chairman and Cardio Vascular Thoracic Surgeon, Asian Heart Institute and Research Centre (AHIRC), who successfully did a Redo Bypass Surgery on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 24, 2009. An elated Dr Panda informed that AHIRC also completed its illustrious six years, three days after the operation on January 27, 2009 of delivering cardiac care facilities in the country and globally with an average success rate of 99.7 per cent.
Credited to have done 10,000 bypass surgeries and 800 Redo Bypass surgeries over a career spanning a period of over two decades, Dr Panda attributes the success in the operation to his confidence in himself and his team. “I attribute the success of operation to my team of doctors and faith in my surgical skills. The operation was complex as the PM is a Diabetic and was suffering from multiple blockages so a Redo Coronary Bypass on beating heart was recommended and done.”
Talking about the rising incidence of cardiac disorders across the country, Dr Panda opines that there is a need for emphasis on the preventive aspects of cardiology to address the burgeoning population of heart patients in India, which currently stands at 50 million people and will rise to 100 million by 2020.
“As of today, the trend is that seventy to eighty per cent of heart patients are treated through preventive cardiac care approaches that is through medicines, 10 to 15 per cent through angioplasty and 10 per cent through bypass surgery, Dr Panda informs.
“Treatment through medicines is the best option to reduce the risk of heart blockages, more so, as Indian Healthcare system is poised to witness major advancements in cholesterol reducing medicines called as Statins in the coming few years,” informs Dr Panda, who also has the distinction of pioneering cardiac surgeries like Off-pump Bypass Surgery, Total Arterial Revascularisation and Redo Bypass Surgery.
Boasting about AHIRC’s in achieving the lowest mortality and morbidity rate in cardiac surgery in India, Dr Panda tells that it took him seven years to find a land and 18 months time to construct the building, which today is amongst the best cardiac care centres globally. Hailing from a family of landlords, Dr Panda did his cardiac surgery training from India’s leading healthcare institute – All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The turning point in Dr Panda’s career came when he went for a fellowship training programme at the Cleveland Clinic, USA. “During 1985 to 1992, I visited villages near Cleveland in Ohio to retrieve heart for heart transplants as a part of my fellowship programme. During these visits, I updated my knowledge and honed skills about the latest surgical modalities and advancements. I conceptualized into what is today popularly known as ‘Hospital and Hospitality’ during those days, which culminated into my dream project called AHIRC in 2002.”
“Today AHIRC has set standards in Cardiac Care, Infection Control Practices, Patient Care, Patient Relationship by benchmarking in areas like counseling by providing psychotherapy and physiotherapy facilities to patients and also benchmarking parameters in hospital planning and design by providing the right kind of ambience and colour scheme to make the hospital patient centric,” says Dr Panda.
AHIRC in the last two years has conducted 110 second bypass surgeries and has the rarest distinction of doing 1400 bypass surgeries annually. “This has also led AHIRC to be at the forefront of giving boost to the Medical Tourism (MT) in the country. We treated foreign patients from 38 countries last year.” Ten per cent of the patients in AHIRC are from foreign countries prominent among them from Africa and Middle East. AHIRC today offers accommodation to patient's relatives coming from foreign countries and from outside Mumbai with the hotels it has tied up. “Though twenty percent of AHIRC’s revenue comes from Medical Tourism (MT), we offer by pass surgeries to Indian patients at half the price, what foreign patients avail of. Whereas deluxe class costs 4 to 4.5 lacs, common class in the hospital costs 2 to 2.5 lacs for bypass surgery,” informs Dr Panda.
“With the rapid advancement in Nuclear Medicine (NM), modalities like Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), India is all geared to provide cardiac care facilities to the heart patients. The future, therefore, lies in replicating models on the lines of AHIRC and develop such 100 such cardiac care centres in the country to deliver world class cardiac care,” concludes Dr Panda.