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Dr Ravinder Singh Rao (File pic)

Doctors implant made in India heart valve in 93-year-old freedom fighter

A 93-year-old freedom fighter experienced a rebirth after undergoing transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) surgery at RHL-Rajasthan Hospital in Jaipur to replace the primary cardiac valve without necessitating open-heart surgery, which was judged too hazardous considering his advanced age.

A team of experts led by Dr Ravinder Singh Rao carried out the treatment utilising made-in-India technology, which was live-streamed and witnessed by interventional cardiologists from across the globe who assembled for an annual conference in Chennai.

Elaborating on the case patient’s complication, Dr Rao said, “A heart 2-D Echo imaging revealed that she was suffering from aortic stenosis, which refers to the narrowing of the main valve. As a result, the heart had to pump with greater force against narrowed orifice. Gradually, her cardiac pumping efficiency decreased to 25%, and fluid started accumulating in the lungs. This made the patient breathless even on minimal activity.”

The nonagenarian freedom fighter, who was leading an active life until a year ago, gradually developed shortness of breath, often woke up in the middle of the night complaining of breathlessness and needed hospitalisation five times in the past one year.

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Elaborating on the TAVI procedure done on the patient, Dr Rao said, “Endoscopic sutures were deployed in femoral (groin) artery.”

“A big size tube was placed through which the valve was crossed, and the new made-in-India one was placed inside the old valve,” he added.

Pointing out that the new valve started functioning immediately, Dr Rao added, “The tube was removed, and the sutures were deployed to close the hole in the groin vessel, while the risk of suffering a stroke during the TAVI procedure was mitigated using a cerebral protection device.”

“Post-surgery, the patient stayed in the ICU for a day before she was shifted to a room. On the fifth day, she walked out of the hospital on her own. She was breathing and sleeping better, that is the miracle of TAVI,” Dr Rao, who performed the first TAVI procedure in Rajasthan in 2017, added.

It may be noted that TAVI is a minimally invasive non-surgical procedure using cutting-edge technology that allows doctors to replace a valve in the heart without removing the damaged one or without opening up the patient’s chest. It has become a boon for patients suffering from aortic stenosis.

A valve replacement is generally performed through open heart surgery with a “sternotomy” which requires the chest to be opened up. Transcatheter aortic valve implantation eliminated that requirement for which a small opening needed to be made, leaving all the chest bones intact.

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