“Fortis Cardiac Surgeons Perform Breakthrough Heart Surgery”

India’s first ‘HEARTMATE II LVAD’ transplant at Fortis Malar, Chennai

Mr Rajasekar was diagnosed with coronary artery disease that led to a heart attack seven years ago. Over the years, despite medication the coronary artery disease continued to weaken his heart leading to heart blocks and left ventricular dysfunction. His heart function gradually declined, eventually dropping to 20% efficiency. As a result, he also experienced renal failure. His fragile condition made heart transplant, the only viable solution. However, the patient’s rare blood group made a donor search more difficult. It was then that the cardiac team at Fortis Malar discussed the pros and cons of performing the HeartMate II LVAD surgery on him.

Before coming to Fortis Malar, I never thought I would live long. But now I will not just live, but live the way I want, thanks to the doctors at the hospital. And I am glad to learn that I am the first heart patient in India on whom the HeartMate II LVAD surgery has been performed.My only advice to heart patients across the country is not to lose hope. Medical science has today crossed unimaginable frontiers, and today I proudly stand as a live proof of this fact. Fortis Malar has shown the way.”

 The Expert Team:

The successful surgery at the Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai, was performed by Dr. K. R. Balakrishnan, Director – Cardiac Sciences, and the team of senior doctors comprising Dr. K. G. Suresh Rao (Head of Cardiac Anaesthesia & Cardiac Critical Care), Dr. Nandkishore Kapadia (Senior Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon), Dr. Ravi Kumar and Dr. Madan Mohan (Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiologists).

Dr. K. R. Balakrishnan said, “The procedure, a first for India, involved the implantation of an artificial assisted mechanical device called ‘Heart Mate II LVAD’, on a 58 year old patient, Mr S Rajasekar. This is currently the most sophisticated technology available in the world and a permanent solution to heart failure. It is a destination therapy for patients who can’t find a donor or may not survive a transplant and offers many advantages. The machine has a 90% survival rate and can extend life for at-least 10 years.”

This is truly a momentous day for us at Fortis. This treatment therapy is a hope for many such people with a dying heart. I wish to thank our team, the staff of physicians, perfusionists, nurses and technicians for pushing the frontiers of technology and making heart implants accessible to all,” said Mr. VIjayarathna V., Zonal Director (Tamil Nadu), Fortis Hospitals.

About Heart Mate 2 LVAD:

LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device) is a mechanical device that circulates blood throughout the body when the heart is too weak to pump blood on its own. HeartMate II is a miniaturized implantable LVAD that represents a breakthrough in medical technology and has rapidly become the most widely used device of its kind in the world. The device performs the function of the left ventricle of the heart and pumps the blood when the heart is too weak to do it on its own.Mechanism: HeartMate II does not involve the replacement of the patient’s native heart rather it is attached to the heart and is designed to assist/take over the pumping function of the patient’s left ventricle ( the main pumping chamber of the heart). It provides continuous flow of blood without a pulse. The device is placed just below the diaphragm in the abdomen. It is attached to the left ventricle and the aorta, the main artery that carries oxygenated blood from the left ventricle to the entire body. An external, wearable system that includes a small controller and two batteries is attached by an external driveline. The wearable system is either worn under or on top of clothing. It is designed to restore blood flow throughout the body, enabling the patient to breathe more easily and feel less fatigued. The patient’s organs receive more blood than they did before receiving the LVAD, and this likely improves their organ function. After receiving an LVAD, patients generally feel more energetic and are able to resume normal activities that they were unable to do prior to receiving the device, because patients are in a severe stage of heart failure before receiving the device, they are much debilitated and typically very limited in terms of activity level. After receiving HeartMate II, the majority of patients can return to their favourite daily activities, with the primary limitation being water immersion.LVAD over Heart Transplant: This technology has wide spread utility as a life saver.

  • No waiting for suitable donor. Unlike cadaver transplants that require the intake of immuno-suppressants, to facilitate organ acceptance, patients with the implanted device need take only one simple blood thinning medicine to ensure the free flow of blood. Immuno suppressants inhibit the functioning of the immune system and as a consequence increase the risk of contracting infection.
  • The device can be removed if the left ventricle recovers in due course of time.
  • Patient with a rare blood group can also benefit from the implant as the same device is inter-operable with all blood groupings.
Heart Failure Scenario:
Heart failure is a major public health problem globally with significant morbidity and mortality despite maximal medical therapy. The 5 year survival is often less than 50 %, and in patients with severe symptomatic heart failure, 2 year survival can be as low as 10 % and in several instances the prognosis is worse than cancer.The burden of Heart Failure in India appears high, and estimates of prevalence range from 3-4 million, with an annual incidence of 1 to 1.5million. However, there is a lack of reliable data due to inadequate surveillance systems. With the increase of cardiovascular diseases and ageing population in our country, the burden of heart failure is likely to be higher in comparison to the western population. Therefore, there is an urgent need to have centres equipped with technology & expertise to treat severe heart failure. This destination therapy can serve as a boon to many who are suffering from severe heart failure and cannot undergo transplantation.


Media Coverage

The Hindu
New Indian Express
Times of India
Deccan Chronicle
Andhra Jyothi
(main edition)
Cuddalore Villupuram edition)

Coverage Photos