Alarming rise in Coronary Artery Disease in young people – Dr. Richard Saldanha

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World Heart Day Interview with Dr. Richard Saldanha Chief Cardiac Surgeon, KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital, Belagavi.

Dr. Richard Saldanha, Chief Cardiac Surgeon spoke at length about prevention of heart disease, containing disease early and need for heart transplantation to ‘All About Belgaum’ the excerpts of the interview.

What is the significance of World Heart Day?

Dr. Richard: Definitely there is an increased trend in heart diseases in India, which is not a not a very good sign. Particularly, alarming rise in Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) in young people. This is the time to introspect, see within ourselves to work for the prevention of Heart disease in the society.

How is the prevalence of Heart disease in this part of Karnataka?

Dr. Richard: Very high incidence of CAD and heart failure cases in this part of Karnataka and Southern Maharashtra. Uncontrolled/undiagnosed/poorly managed Hypertension (BP) & Diabetes are the major problems augmenting heart disease. Poverty, poor housing and poor hygiene conditions are also to be partly blamed for the increase in heart disease.

saldhana-richardWhat are the reasons/causes of Heart Disease?

Dr. Richard: Diabetes, Hypertension, family history, lack of physical exercise, smoking, chewing of tobacco, consuming junk food are the main reasons for an increase in heart disease.

Can we contain/Control /stay away from Heart Disease – Prevention of Disease

Dr. Richard: Heart disease is almost preventable. Take a close look at your Diabetes and Hypertension. All those who have Diabetes, HTN (BP) must visit Doctors regularly and keep them in strict control. HbAlc is the gold standard and should be kept at 6.5. Regularly monitor your Blood Pressure and to be kept under control.

What are the challenges/complications that you/your team encounter during Heart Surgery?

Dr. Richard: The young patients on whom we operate have an extensive and diffuse disease, which is not seen in the rest of the country. Cardiac surgery is very demanding and needs a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work. We perform surgery on most complex cases. The team usually performs arterial graft, endarterectomy, Pulmonary embolism, Ventricle septal rupture repairs, correction of complex congenital heart diseases, PVD, etc.

Say something about the quality of surgical work performed by your unit & the facilities available

Dr. Richard: Well established CVTS unit is backed up by experienced & expert Anesthesia team, Perfusionists, specially trained Nurses, Physiotherapists, and Public Relations Officers. The unit provides high-quality surgical techniques, technology & top order post-operative care to all the patients.

Does the organ donation particularly Heart, Kidney, Lung has not picked-up in an expected way, what is your opinion.

Dr. Richard: We did our first transplant one and a half year ago and the recipient is back to his work in Bengaluru and doing well. The recipient is independent and earning and looking after his family. The cost of Transplant we did was just at about Rs. 7-8 lakh, however, the same transplant costs Rs. 20-25 lakh in Bengaluru, Chennai, and Mumbai. We have 6 heart patients and 1 lung patient registered with Jeevsarthakathe (Organ Transplant Authority) and waiting for a donor. Donor awareness is poor in the community; however we have tied up with Mohan Foundation, Chennai, Local Lions, Rotary, Giants, Club, and social workers are extending their helping hand. I am of the strong belief that, younger generations are more receptive to organ donation. I am sure it is a matter of time, in another 2-3 years’ KLES Hospital will emerge as one of the major transplant Centre. Groundwork to create awareness is being done by Hospital Administration. We congratulate, Government of Karnataka which has come out to provide Rs.10 Lakh for heart transplant of BPL patients. Our team is working hard to make the transplant program successful and give a new lease of life to needy.

What is your message to the community on the occasion of World Heart Day?

Dr. Richard: Every individual above 40 years should go for screening for at least Diabetes, Hypertension. Avoid obesity by regular exercise; quit smoking stop tobacco chewing stay away from junk food. Involve in swimming, cycling, yoga, Play in the sunshine and walk for 30-40 mins at least 5-6 days in a week. Be cheerful and happy.

Dr. Richard Saldanha can be contacted on email- [email protected]

Phone- 0831-255 1849/1979/1264

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