Methods implemented inside a cathlab permits the doctors to conduct complex repair or replacement procedures.

These procedures were not administered to certain patients earlier, because these patients possessed co-morbid conditions that would complicate the success of open surgery. There are many patients with heart conditions, who also bear asthma, kidney or liver failure, diabetes, or be of an advanced age. Thus in a scenario like that open surgery could be fatal.

Presently, due to the proficiency and capability of Interventional Cardiologists like us, such patients can also receive life-saving treatment. These treatments will provide them with longer, happier, healthier life.

Most importantly, a procedure inside a cathlab is normally shorter than open surgery. Moreover, it does not conventionally require the patient to undergo a general anaesthesia. Due to this, patients are at a further advantage to recover from their cathlab procedure quicker, and are able to go back home faster than usual. Usually a normal procedure in a cathlab could last anywhere between a few minutes to about an hour at most. But, the fruitfulness of such procedures relies mostly on the machinery used and the proficiency of the doctor performing it.

Number of 24-hour and fully-equipped cathlabs in our nation is quite low. According to certain medical regulations and standards of care – patients with acute heart attacks or other heart ailments must be treated in the shortest possible time frame.

I would say golden hours, and platinum minutes. In my opinion, these factors demand that a cathlab must therefore be staffed every minute of every day, not just by technicians but also consultants and nursing staff. Most importantly, at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, the cathlab has senior doctors on call, 24×7, and it is the only hospital to have that.

To explain how a cathlab is, I have to state that a Cathlab is a disinfected, calm, safe environment located within the cardiology wing of the hospital. The lab contains an area for the patient, a controlling and monitoring area. The cathlab at Apollo is a bearer of the most recent technology and is combined with the most radical and advanced procedures in interventional cardiology.

Whatever is happening in the rest of the world, even for the first time, we bring it here as well. We’re at least three to five years ahead of the rest of the country.

In order to put forward an example of cathlab procedure – I must talk about Radial Angioplasty. This is something we started all the way back in 2003 and it established itself as a standard procedure and as the default technique in Apollo cathlabs.

Once we established the practice, we conducted several training courses over the years across the country and today, the procedure is widely followed across the country. Stenting via the radical access has made the whole process very simple. I can remember, 90 years old retired scientist comes with chest pain, has angiography via the radical approach and has found to have very minimal blocks. He was discharged in 10 hours on the same day after the procedure with medications.

This is only possible when radical approach is used which is very patient friendly. “No blood loss, minimally invasive, short hospital stay.”