IN JANUARY, AFTER Indian cricket star Sourav Ganguly suffered a heart attack and had to undergo a procedure to remove blockage in coronary arteries, two runners in their late 40s, like Ganguly, met at a café in Gurugram city. “I cannot believe that someone as fit as Ganguly has had not one but three blockages in his heart,” said one. His friend nodded gravely and said that he wondered if they should go for a check-up.
A week later, the man had been put on statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs), as a CT angiogram (an imaging test that looks at the arteries supplying blood to the heart) had detected calcification in his arteries; it could have become severe over time, increasing the danger of a heart attack like Ganguly suffered. But a timely check-up helped a cardiologist put him on medication, significantly reducing his risk.
The runner was lucky. In Mumbai, around the same time, a 42-year-old man had been playing cricket with some close friends and relatives when he suddenly developed an intense pain in his chest. He collapsed in the car on his way to the hospital. By the time he reached the emergency ward, the doctors attending on him found no sign of life in him, though only eight minutes had passed since he had complained about discomfort in his chest. “He had been practically dead for about two or three minutes,” recalls Dr Praveen Kulkarni, a senior cardiologist who works at the city’s Global Hospital.
The patient had suffered a massive heart attack. After about 20 minutes of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), the rhythm in his heart returned. An angioplasty was done soon after. In the next few days, the man began to recover. By the fourth day, he was off the ventilator. Fortuitously, he had also suffered no brain injury (which can occur when the heart stops pumping blood into the brain). And just last week, after having come so close to death, the patient returned home.
Cardiologists across India say they are increasingly encountering cases of younger people with coronary heart disease. “Forget 50s and 40s, I have done so many procedures on young people who are in their 30s, sometimes even late 20s. The list is endless,” says Dr Surinder Bazaz, senior director of cardiac surgery at Gurugram’s Medanta Hospital… Read More