Prominent Indian cardiothoracic surgeon, Professor Dr Prashant Vaijyanath, has performed South Trinidad’s first bloodless beating heart bypass surgery at the Southern Medical Clinic in San Fernando.
Speaking to Guardian Media during an exclusive interview, Professor Vaijyanath said the two surgeries were performed without any blood transfusions and any blood products last weekend. He said the patients were able to walk and talk within hours of the procedures.
Explaining the process, Professor Vaijyanath said with the beating-heart bypass surgery, the patient is operated on while the heart continues to provide blood to the rest of the body during the surgery.
Having done 15,000 open heart surgeries during his lifetime, Professor Vaijyanath said the first surgery took two hours while the second was more complicated and took two and a half hours.
Commending the Southern Medical Clinic for the state-of-the-art equipment available, Professor Vaijyanath said he was happy to partner with the facility to set up a cardiac programme for people suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
“We have several paraphernalia, brand new cardiac ICU fully equipped with dedicated intensivists. We have a clinical care programme and assistant cardiac surgeon,” he added.
Calling for a public-private partnership, he said the surgery can be done at a reasonable cost.
Professor Vaijyanath also called for private/public partnerships, saying this will make these surgeries more affordable.
“Most of the public services are not accessible because of the lack of infrastructure and there is a huge waiting list in the public system. The Government is willing to help with these surgeries, which can cost $200,000 in private hospitals,” he added.
He explained that Southern Medical is charging 30 per cent less to do the procedure.
“We are planning to do all bypass operations within $150,000, which is reasonable,” he added.
Professor Vaijyanath said citizens in T&T have a high risk and high incidence of diabetes, hypertension and lifetime stress because of consumption of fast food and processed food.
“The American lifestyle of fast food has accelerated the incidents of coronary heart disease, so it is very vital that lifestyle management be stressed upon, yoga, exercise, morning walking, weight control programme, control diabetes,” he added.
Meanwhile, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Samuel West, expressed gratitude to Professor Vaijyanath for developing the cardiac surgical programme.
“We have a dedicated intensive care unit, high dependency unit, specialised equipment, brand new heart/lung machine and all items that go with coronary artery bypass,” he said.
Dr West urged citizens to maintain healthy lifestyles, saying coronary artery bypass grafting was developed to deal with the narrowing of coronary arteries.
“In this country, we have a epidemic of diabetes, smoking, alcoholism and, of course, an ageing population,” he said, adding that this puts citizens at increased risk.