India home to nearly 40% of world’s heart failure patients
Clinics, Registry Would Help Check New Epidemic Brought On By Lifestyle Choices
India is home to 40% of the world’s 2.6 crore patients with heart failure, yet there is poor awareness about the condition and its treatment. Maharashtra public health minister Eknath Shinde delivered this pithy message while kickstarting the Times of India’s initiative on heart failure last week. Called the Beat Heart Failure, the initiative is partnered by pharma major Novartis and aims to educate the masses about heart failure and encourage them to undertake a basic symptom check.
The meeting—first in a series of discussions to be held in various cities—was attended by select bureaucrats and academicians in Mumbai who discussed ways to tackle this relatively new epidemic in India. Setting up heart failure registry and starting heart failure clinics in medical schools and private hospitals emerged as main solutions.
Dubbing the Beat Heart Failure campaign as an “essential” and “noble’’ cause, Shinde said, “Heart failure is a challenge ahead of us as, more so because Indians are prone to lifestyle diseases, like hypertension and diabetes, that are risk factors for heart failure.”
He quoted a 2017 study that showed that only about 50% of India’s heart failure patients take medicines. “We need to work out a way ahead to ensure that more patients are diagnosed early and started on treatment,” he added.
KEM Hospital’s cardiology department head Dr Prafulla Kerkar said the problem of heart failure seems worse here because the condition
manifests a decade earlier among Indians. A problem vis-à-vis heart failure is that no one is directly diagnosed as a heart failure patient because it usually develops as a result of some other chronic condition. “If a patient has diabetes or cardiovascular disease and has a low ejection fraction (heart’s pumping capacity), the patient has a high risk of heart failure and should undergo further tests,” he added.
Dr Suresh Menon of Novartis said heart failure had a peculiar pattern. “Most diseases start with an acute attack before the condition becomes chronic, but it is the opposite with heart failure,” he said.
diagnostic (Above) Dr Amol Wankhede (from left), Dr Sadhana Tayade, Dr Prafulla Kerkar, Dr Sanjay Mukherjee and Dr Suresh Menon at the Beat Heart Failure discussion; (left) Maharashtra public health minister Eknath Shinde kickstarts the Times of India’s initiative on heart failure
Patients first show up with chronic heart failure which becomes acute and needs hospitalization, he added.
After understanding the details of India’s heart failure epidemic that the experts recommended setting up of a heart failure registry in Maharashtra. At present, only Kerala has a heart failure registry funded by the Indian Council for Medical Research.
Dr Amol Wankhede, a World Health Organisation advisor with the Maharashtra government, felt heart failure could emerge as an epidemic if measures aren’t taken soon. “If not diagnosed early, patients will require repeated ICU admissions,” he said, adding that the need of the hour is setting up guidelines that even primary health centres could follow. The idea is early identification so that patients can be rushed for further treatment to tertiary-care hospitals in urban areas.
Dr Sadhana Tayade, from the state director general of health services, identified the lack of trained manpower as one of the impediments in early diagnosis. “There is a scarcity of heart
experts at the district levels. There is only one MD-trained physicians for heart for 14 district hospitals,” she said. However, she added that government’s screening for non-communicable disease could help identify patients. “We are also empanelling private hospitals and cardiologists in the private sector to help,” she said.
State medical education secretary Dr Sanjay Mukherjee said Maharashtra has undertaken many initiatives to improve heart care. “We are increasing the number of seats for super specialists this year onwards so that we have better infrastructure for heart care,” he said. The Maharashtra government has tied up with NGO Golden Hour Foundation to train interns on the importance of golden hour in heart treatment.
Dr Mukherjee added that studies should be conducted to check if artificial intelligence could help in identifying the vulnerable population in this regard.
Shinde said that efforts should be made to spread awareness about heart failure right across society, especially schoolchildren. “Even children should have the knowledge that they need to adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes,” he added. Patna: Locals clashed on Thursday with the police on Exhibition Road, a commercial hub in Bihar’s capital, over the hefty fines being imposed on motorists under the amended Motor Vehicles Act for violating traffic rules.
Commuters threw stones at police vehicles and also surrounded a VIP car in which a guard was sitting without wearing a seatbelt. People also attacked two police vehicles and tried to pull the driver out of one of the them.
The chaos from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm began when a Boring Road resident, Renu Jaiswal, was issued a challan for not wearing a seatbelt in the front seat of her car.
Renu alleged that a sub-inspector, Brajesh Kumar Singh, used foul language against her.
Brajesh Singh, however, denied the allegations and accused Renu of abusing him.
Gandhi Maidan police station SHO Sunil Kumar Singh said 11 people were detained for creating a ruckus.