Lessening heartache

Published: Thursday 30 November 1995

-- BYPASS surgery without opening the front of the chest or using a heart-lung machine was conducted at the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre in Delhi. Naresh Trehan, the Centre's executive director, performed the opera tions on two patients - the f irst ever in India. The technique is known as minithoracotomy and bypasses the main coronary artery, the left anterior descending artery. The new process entails a two-inch opening made on the left lateral chest. The internal mammary artery, fastened behind the breast bone, has been used on one of the patients having a complete blockage of the left descending artery. It was utilised to bypass the the blockage by linking it to the left anterior descending artery beyond the affected portion to make the blood flow to the heart. The operation was carried out on a beating heart. The new method would reduce the cost of operation from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 50,000. It would also lessen the patient's stay at the hospital to three-fou 'I, not the usual 10 days, and considerably slice the patients' physical and psychological stress.

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