Gangtok: Doctors, nurses and technicians of the Cardiology Department at STNM Hospital performed rigorous non-stop operations starting 7.30 am on August 28 till 2 am. The 18 successful operations were the highest-ever operations in a single day sitting in India. Eight of those cases were with accessory pathways in the world.

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Head of Cardiology Department and Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Dr DP Rai informed that the facility is available in Guwahati and Shillong, but not in the other northeastern states, including Sikkim and North Bengal. “These procedures are costly in metropolitan cities, so all patients cannot afford. Referring such a huge number of patients will be a big financial burden to the government exchequer.”

Dr Rai informed Radio-frequency ablations is a curable treatment for most arrhythmias, while some patients are symptomatic for several years and with very weak pumping functions and heart failures.

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On the reason to carry out so many operations on a single day, Dr Rai shared, “There is a huge pile of cases that have built up from the past years as there was no cardiology concerning treatment. Now, when they come for a consultation, we schedule the operations in such a way that it occurs on a single day. We are also obliged to outsource some necessary equipment from outside, setting them up in Sikkim is a huge cost. So the say fixed for the equipment to come from Delhi is fixed and to avoid additional costs, we conduct it in a single day. But the state government is devoted to passing legislation for the different proposals we have sent such that cardiology treatment in Sikkim finds more success in the future.”

“Long term untreated cases have piled up over the years in Sikkim. Such cases may lead to heart failure or sudden deaths too. With successful RF ablations, medicines are stopped. While symptomatic improvement has been observed just after operations, this is our huge professional satisfaction. We being in the medical profession, it is our ethical responsibility to take over such initiatives,” stated DP Rai.

On the transition from private to government sector for the Sikkim Cardiology treatment, Dr Rai explained how Interventional Cardiology was started in Sikkim for the first time in Central Referral Hospital in 2015. “We established the cath lab. It was a huge success with negligible mortality. The same built a trust among the people that Cardiology treatment can indeed happen in the State. When the new STNM Hospital was set up, it became my responsibility to come over and steadily we built this time and now we are finding success with 18 operations in a day”. Dr Rai was the first interventional cardiologist in Sikkim.



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