From USA to India, a Patient Gets Back the Rhythm of his Heart

Author of a New York's Best Seller, Marathon Runner Gets his Heart Rhythm Disorder Treated at Fortis Hospitals Bangalore

Jun 23, 2010, 08:16 ET from Fortis Hospitals Limited

BANGALORE, India, June 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- John L Parker, a 64-year-old American, sports enthusiast, marathon runner and writer, traveled to Bangalore to undergo a complicated heart rhythm disorder treatment. Dr. Shasidhar, Consultant Electro-Physiologist, Fortis Hospitals Bangalore, performed a complex Atrial Fibrillation Ablation on Parker to bring back his heart rhythm to normal.

Parker had a viral infection of the heart muscle three years earlier, which reduced his heart pumping function. He 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 an 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) quiver instead of contracting, and the heart beats erratically.

Parker was put on medication and was electrically cardioverted twice - a technique where an electrical shock is delivered to the heart to bring the rhythm back to normal, but both times it failed. Parker was advised to be on long-term anti-arrhythmic medication, but the medications had potentially dangerous side effects. An Electro-Physiologist in the US advised him to undergo AF Ablation therapy.

"The procedure I needed to fix the problem, called a Radio Frequency Ablation, 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. Soon after I decided to travel down to India for my treatment" Parker said.

"Though there are cultural differences between the U.S. and other countries, and one needs to be open-minded, 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," Parker added.

Dr. Shashidhar, Consultant Electro-Physiologist, Fortis Hospitals Bangalore said, "Atrial Fibrillation is one of the most common rhythm problems in the world, 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 three-year duration. He needed extensive ablation, mainly in the left upper chamber of the heart (left atrium), Success rates globally in such cases are in the range of 50-70%, unlike in short duration AF where success rate can be 90-95%. After a lengthy telephone conversation about the pros and cons of such a complicated procedure, John was keen to get his rhythm back to normal."

Two days after his arrival in Bangalore and a few preliminary tests later, he was taken for AF ablation. It is 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 lesions set with electrical energy (radio frequency ablation) to create a conduction block to abnormal electrical impulses at various predetermined 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, his heart was back into the normal rhythm. 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.

    For Further Information Please Contact:
    Priyam Bortamuli
    Public Relations
    Fortis Hospitals Ltd
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SOURCE Fortis Hospitals Limited