Thursday, May 6

Cheaper Indian device brings relief to patients with narrow aortic valve

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A few weeks ago, a 79-year-old Kasba resident underwent a relatively new procedure called Tavi (transcatheter aortic valve implantation), using the India-made artificial aortic valve, at a city hospital. The procedure involves non-surgically replacing the diseased valve with a prosthetic aortic valve.

Doctors in the city said the procedure is the future for the aged patients suffering from aortic stenosis. While the exorbitant cost of the imported device was a barrier, the India-made device has cut the cost of the procedure by about 40%. Aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve. This narrowing prevents the valve from opening fully, reducing or blocking blood from flowing out of the heart into the main artery and to the rest of the body. If not treated, it could lead to heart failure. Aortic stenosis is related to age.

“This procedure scores over the open surgery of replacing a diseased valve in a number of ways. It is a minimally invasive surgery that takes around two hours and allows the patient quick recovery and, hence, is the best for the elderly with a host of underlying health conditions,” said interventional cardiologist Debdutta Bhattacharya.

Bhattacharya along with cardiac surgeon Atanu Saha had conducted the Tavi on the Kasba resident, a doctor himself. The septuagenarian is doing fine with the aortic valve. The patient had severe aortic stenosis and came to the hospital in a critical condition.

“The procedure has gained wide popularity in the west. Till December 2019, about 70,000 such procedures had been performed in Germany alone. But the high cost the imported prosthesis was an issue in India. Now that we have the indigenous device, which is as good as the imported ones at a more affordable cost, more people can take advantage of the procedure,” said interventional cardiologist PK Hazra who has also conducted two such procedures with the India-made device at AMRI Hospitals, Dhakuria.

The package for the procedure using the imported prosthesis is about Rs 25 in Kolkata. But now with the indigenous device, the cost has come down to about Rs 16 lakh.

Tavi is tailored specially for the elderly patients who cannot cope with an open heart surgery that requires breaking open to the breast bone. In this a minimally invasive procedure, in which the doctor inserts the catheter into a large artery in the groin. The valve is implanted in the heart via this catheter.

“This procedure is the future for the elderly. However, as a majority of the elderly people in India do not have medical insurance, the cost even after the using the Indian device could keep many away,” said Sunip Banerjee, cardiologist at SG Cardiac Care. Banerjee, too, had conducted Tavi on a Kolkatan, but at a Singapore hospital a few years ago.


Source: Times of India

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