A Caribbean man suffering from heart failure now 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 explained that at 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. But, when advanced heart failure occurs, medications won’t 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,” lamented chief cardiac surgeon Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, who performed the lifesaving surgery on the Caymanian man alongside cardiologist Dr. Ravi Kishore, head of the heart failure clinic, and Dr. Dhruva Kumar who heads an experienced team of anesthesiologists and critical care specialists with deep experience handling such high-end procedures.
Affectionately referred to as Dr. Binoy, the senior cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon who has performed more than 5,000 surgeries in his career, noted that many times 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 explained, 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.
Additionally, nurses and physiotherapy services are important adjuncts to provide around the clock care leading to enhanced recovery and outcomes. All this works in concert with excellent laboratory and imaging services and supporting clinical services such as pulmonology, nephrology and psychological care.
The LVAD procedure is performed at Health City’s affiliate hospital in Bangalore, India, but for the Cayman Islands, it marks the beginning of a new specialty that aims to bring the latest advances in the management of advanced heart failure to the entire Caribbean at affordable costs.
Almost 80 percent 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,” Dr. Binoy assured.
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.