A tiny (weighing 400 grams) rechargeable battery powered mechanized device, an ‘Artificial heart’, costing a hefty Rs 1 crore, has arrived India. This device, much smaller than the original heart.
Obviously, the heart is not much hope for most of the more than 4 million (40 Lakh) people in the country who die of heart failure every year; but still it should be welcomed. Should be welcomed, as it buds a Hope — that if there’s money, there’s cure too.
Battery Run Tiny Artificial Heart:
Asian Heart Institute, Bandra, Mumbai has brought in the technology to implant an artificial heart that takes over the functioning of the original heart and promises to double the patient’s life-expectancy. Currently the Institute is busy training doctors to implant the device in patients of heart failure( End-stage heart disease, wherein the heart loses its ability to pump oxygenated blood into the body, is currently almost means a death sentence for the patient).
Heart health of India:
1) The incidence of heart failure is increasing by 2 million (20 lakh) annually
2) Poverty and population makes heart transplants a distant dream for most Indians. Less than 1% of heart failure patients have any chance of getting an organ for transplant.
Who’s eligible for Artificial Heart:
The artificial heart will help patients who are ideal candidates for a heart transplant but need assistance to stay alive till they get a donor. For patients who do not even have the option to undergo cardiac transplantation, this technology is probably the only answer to stay alive.
The device could be a solution to heart failure as well. The artificial heart not only gives the patient a new go at at life, it also allows the natural heart to recover. In 10-15% of patients, the original heart recovers and the device is then removed.
Success Rate of Artificial heart:
Globally over 10,000 people have this artifical heart implant. They are mostly having the artifical heart to assist a failing heart. According to Senior consultant cardiovascular surgeon Dr Prashant Vaijyanath, who is part of the team undergoing training at AHI, “The device restores normal blood flow throughout the body, making it possible for the patient to breathe easily. All the fatigue associated with the condition goes away. All organs start receiving more blood than they did before. Patients can resume their normal activities, including running and cycling, simply because they feel more energetic,”.
Anything one can’t do after the Heart Transplant:
Can’t go for a Swim. Courtesy Electronic circuitry.
Facilities which will be offering the implants:
AHI, Mumbai, Bandra
Narayan Hrudalaya, Bangalore ( at Rs 50 Lakh. Charge the patients only for the device and waive doctor and other charges)
As with any foreign device or organ implanted, the artificial heart always risk the implantee with “Chances of infection, even if less than 10%, are there. There will be cables sticking out of the body which many may not prefer,”.
When will the Artificial Heart come at Common man’s Reach:
Over the next 10-15 years. Then the heart will cost a couple of Lakh Rupees.