The human heart has been studied by scientists, doctors and artists for a long time. However, it was in the late 1800s when doctors identified the realisation “fix a broken heart”. In 1896, the first heart surgery was performed. It was a German surgeon who refurbished a heart which had been affected by a stab wound. The surgeon gave the patient a new lease of life.

Earlier efforts to surgically revive the heart were completely fruitless. There were complexities and dangers which were involved in opening the very delicate chest area and accessing a still-beating heart in order to repair leaks or clear blocks. These types of surgeries back then resulted in high mortality rates.

It was in recent times, that in a complex open heart surgery, there was a 50-50 chance for the survival of the patient. This is a story almost every family has encountered, and it is also a plot point in several movies and TV serials. However, in the present day, this is one case where fiction is obviously far behind the truth.

In our times, there is very less invasion in cardiology and it administers a technology that has ensured that even the rarest of operations can be conducted with accuracy and a greater margin of success. Most significantly, these treatments are not conducted in the operation theatre of a hospital, but inside the cathlabs. In fact, at the Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, doctors, technicians, and support staff work for long hours inside the cathlab, in order to ascertain that your future is disease free, long and happy forever.

Catheterisation Laboratories or cathlabs – are highly advanced facilities which are able to perform interventional cardiology procedures using catheters. Catheters are thin, extremely specialised wires that are made to enter into arteries in the hand, the leg, or the groin, depending on the issue the procedure is trying to resolve.

Being one of the pioneers in interventional cardiology, Apollo Hospitals in Chennai is definitely the first big hospital in the south of the country to introduce these technologies. Interventional Cardiology is a set of procedures that are conducted using the most enhanced medical equipment. It also implements minimally invasive procedures to repair structural problems in the heart.

In cathlab procedures, we make a pinhole and insert a catheter through the tiny opening while performing many crucial and complicated procedures. These methods once back were extremely invasive – like getting rid of blocks, stenting, even valve replacement.

I am Senior Interventional Cardiologist at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, and one of the ardent enthusiasts of Cathlab techniques in India.