GEORGE TOWN: A man suffering from heart failure has a new lease on life following the successful installation of an artificial heart pump (LVAD – Left Ventricular Assist Device) by the medical team at the recently opened Health City Cayman Islands.
Believed to be the first such treatment performed in the Caribbean, Health City Cayman Islands officials said during advanced stages of heart failure, when the organ has become severely weakened and unable to pump sufficient blood to the entire body, the most promising forms of treatment are either heart transplant or the implantation of devices that support the failing heart and takeover of its functions.
Mild forms of heart failure can be treated with medications and patients can have a reasonably normal life. However, when advanced heart failure occurs, medications will not be effective and patients are likely to be incapacitated, home bound and their life expectancy significantly reduced.
“The challenge with heart transplants is the availability of a donor heart,” said chief cardiac surgeon Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, who performed the surgery alongside cardiologist Dr. Ravi Kishore, head of the heart failure clinic and Dr. Dhruva Kumar, who heads a team of anesthesiologists and critical care specialists.
Dr. Chattuparambil, who has performed more than 5,000 surgeries, said in many instances, the waiting period is so long that most patients die before getting assistance.
“In this situation you can provide LVAD as a final choice of treatment or as a temporary measure until you get a donor heart,” he said, noting that of the numerous heart surgeries done each year in the United States, only a small percentage of LVADs are performed.
To successfully operate on patients requires experienced cardiothoracic surgical teams, cardiology support with high-end critical care and anesthesiology support, which can each be found at Health City Cayman Islands.
The LVAD procedure is performed at Health City’s affiliate hospital in Bangalore, India. For the Cayman Islands, the procedure is a landmark occasion that brings the latest advances in the management of heart failure to the Caribbean at affordable costs.
Almost 80 per cent of LVAD patients get discharged within three to four weeks after the procedure.
“After one more month they should be able to go shopping, and two to three months after surgery, all things being equal, they should be independent,” said Chattuparambil.
Envisioned by Narayana Health’s Dr. Devi Shetty, a philanthropist and personal physician of the late Mother Teresa, Health City Cayman Islands opened its doors in February, 2014. The state-of-the-art medical facility in the western Caribbean is one of 27 facilities operating under Dr. Shetty’s administration across the globe.