Bangalore: 64 year old American, a sports enthusiast, a marathon runner and a writer travels to Bangalore to undergo a complicated heart rhythm disorder treatment.
Dr Shasidhar, Consultant Electro Physiologist, Fortis Hospitals Bangalore performs a complex Atrial Fibrillation Ablation on John L Parker to bring back his heart rhythm to normal.
John had viral infection of the heart muscle 3 years back which reduced his heart pumping function and was on “Left Ventricular Assist device” temporarily.
His heart function subsequently recovered to a fair degree however he was not able to get on with his routine activities. He had developed a rhythm disorder of his heart which is called as Atrial Fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation (AF or A-fib) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm) an irregular and often rapid heart rhythm where the top chambers of the heart (Atria) quivers instead of contraction and beats erratically.
John was put on medication and twice was electrically cardioverted – a technique of applying electrical shock to heart to bring his heart rhythm to normal, but both the times it was a failure and they were not able to bring his heart rhythm to normal.
John was advised to be on long term anti-arrhythmic medication but he was not willing for that as medications has its own side effects which may be potentially dangerous. When he consulted the Electro physiologist in the US they advised him to go for AF Ablation therapy.
“The procedure I needed to fix the problem, called a Radio Frequency Ablation, my research showed, would cost between $70,000 and $110,000 in America. In short, it would have all but wiped me out financially.
I was vaguely aware that some un- or under insured Americans were leaving the country to get less expensive but still excellent care in other countries, so I did some research on the internet, ordered a book on “medical tourism” and came to know about Dr Shasidhar at Fortis Hospitals Bangalore and soon I decided to travel down to India for my treatment” said John L Parker.
“Though there are cultural differences between the US and other countries, so one needs to be open-minded, but on the truly important items, the knowledge, skill and caring of the doctors, the wonderfully adept and friendly nurses and support staff, and the quality and modernity of the medical equipment and facilities, I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending such a well-planned course of treatment abroad for others in the same situation I was in” added John.
Dr. Shashidhar, Consultant Electro physiologist, Fortis Hospitals Bangalore said, Atrial Fibrillation is one of the most common rhythm problem world over which can lead to heart failure and stroke and can be life threatening.
When John consulted us we found his heart rhythm problem was a chronic one of almost 3 year duration which needed extensive ablation mainly in left upper chamber of the heart (left atrium) and success world over in such cases is in the range of 50 -70%, unlike in short duration AF where success rate can be 90-95% .
After a lengthy telephonic conversation about the pros and cons of such a complicated procedure John was keen to get his rhythm back to normal.”
After two days of his arrival in Bangalore and few preliminary tests, he was taken up for AF ablation.
Its done by inserting special flexible tubes (catheters) with electrodes at the tip into various locations within the heart from leg and neck veins and creating a three dimensional map (shell) of the left upper chamber and then creating a series of lesion set with electrical energy (radio frequency ablation) to create a conduction block to abnormal electrical impulses at various pre determined locations. This is quite complicated and should be performed by an electro physiologist who is well experienced in such procedures.
“At the end of procedure which lasted for six hours, when his heart was back into the normal rhythm I could heave a sigh of relief. One week post procedure he is in normal rhythm and is itching to get back to his routine. He will be monitored at regular intervals and hopefully will be off his current medications in near future” added Dr. Shashidhar.