Friday, February 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


American doctors repair 'broken' hearts
By Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Hold your heart! For cardiologists working at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) will now offer the technique of Radio Frequency Cathether Ablation (RFA) to patients having abnormally rapid heartbeats.

The Head of the Department of Cardiology, Prof Jagmohan S. Verma, said though the knowhow of the technique was already there, but, in the absence of the equipment required, ablations were never performed here. A team of doctors associated with Project Pacer International of the USA, have for the first time, used this technique along with some faculty members to treat eight patients in the PGI. Though, in these cases, they had carried out the procedure with the help of the hardware brought by them, it would shortly be done on routine basis at the PGI after the equipment arrived, said Dr Verma.

The use of this technique will help treat frightening symptoms in a patient such as fast heartbeat, dizziness, fainting spells and breathlessness. These palpitations may not be life-threatening but cause great deal of discomfort. However, this technique which assures nearly 100 per cent cure will be a boon for the people of this region, as till now, it was not available in any state, except Delhi.

Explaining the technique, Dr David T. Martin, one of the visiting doctors and Director of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory, said that the process involved putting wires into the heart and studying its electric signals to locate areas which produced abnormal rhythms. "Once that is localised, we apply radio frequency energy to prevent this rhythm from occurring again,'' he added. The technique is used to modify the electric pattern of the heart from where it originates.

The technique which would normally cost anything between Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 in private hospitals, was provide free of cost to four patients by the team. In the PGI, it will cost about Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000. Dr Martin is accompanied by Dr Roy John, another cardiologist electrophysiologist, and nurse Kathy.

"After the treatment, I feel much better, after having suffered the problem of palpitation for the past 13 years,'' said Veena, a 42-year-old patient. Mr Ajit Lal, a resident of Yamunanagar, is another beneficiary, who had the problem since 1992.

The team of doctors, under the chairmanship of Dr V.K Saini, a founder member of Project Pacer International, a sponsored medical mission to provide free care to poor patients, has once again provided free pace makers to a few poor patients. Dr John, who is in the PGI for the second time as part of the team, said the team, chose a new destination every year from among developing countries for giving away these devices donated by some companies or bought from funds collected by the Rotary Club and other such agencies. They have been to Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador, China also. They visit India frequently to help needy patients in the AIIMS, Delhi; Sitaram Bharti Hospital, Delhi; the PGI, Chandigarh; and the CMC, Ludhiana. "We contact key persons in these hospitals and they in turn, inform poor patients about our visit,'' said Dr John. "In a week's stay, we try and perform 6 surgeries daily."

One such patient, Shyam Kali, wife of a poor gardener, who was not in a position to get a pacemaker costing about Rs 1.5 lakh, might not have lived but for the help provided by this team. "I am so grateful to them for giving me a new lease of life. Now, I can look after my children and husband, she said. Mother of two children, she had been feeling dizzy and would often faint due to an abnormal heartbeat. A shock box will now regulate the heartbeat and ensure that it works well. However, patients fitted with pacemakers have to come for regular follow-up surgeries to ensure that the battery is alright. If need be, adjustments can be made from outside the body.

Another patient, Mr A.L. Sethi was also saved by these doctors. The 72-year-old man would often faint and fall to the ground and at times, it appeared that the heart was not beating. Some of the other beneficiaries are Karam Singh and Banwari Lal.

Besides this, the team has also fitted three cardiac defibrillatators in the bodies of patients to check the abnormal rapid heartbeats. These cost about Rs 9 lakh and the surgery takes about 2 hours.Back


Types of drug reactions discussed
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Various types of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and methods used for monitoring these reactions were highlighted by Dr P. Pandhi in her talk on the fourth day of the ongoing national workshop on clinical pharmacology.

Emphasising the need to monitor the drugs, she pointed out that it had become essential to avert the disasters like that of thalidomide in early 1960s which claimed hundreds of lives and caused serious anomalies of absence of limbs in the new-born children of those mothers who had consumed the drug. Mrs Pandhi also talked about the role of national and international agencies in monitoring the ADRs.

She further said that the drugs currently used are biochemical poisons of a kind: where they give a therapeutic benefit, they also have a potential for harm. Hence, doctors need to be more vigilant and if a particular drug does not suit the patient, it must be changed immediately.

Dr M. C. Gupta from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, stressed on the need of providing unbiased latest information on drugs to the busy clinician. This would facilitate in giving the patient a more rational treatment and value for his money. It would also help avoid legal problems since medical practice has been brought under the Consumer Protection Act. The information would even guide the health policy makers towards a more appropriate allocation of funds.

To achieve this, Dr Gupta laid emphasis on setting up 'Drug information units' in major institutions of the country which will provide quality information to all. He pointed out that the benefit of such information should also be made available to doctors working at the primary health care level, particularly in the peripheral areas.

Dr S. K. Garg revealed that the Department of Pharmacology was presently providing this facility to the doctors in Nehru Hospital.

In the afternoon, Dr Ratinder Jhaj of GMCH-32 gave a talk on pharmacoepidemiology and advocated that such studies were helpful for determining the risks and benefits of drugs among general population. It was particularly useful in detecting rare harmful effects and also unexpected beneficial effects of drugs for other ailments.

Later, the delegates participating in this workshop were given on-the-spot-problem-solving exercises related to day-to-day clinical problems. For instance, they were given some problems just to give them an idea to calculate the doses of drugs in patients suffering from liver and kidney problems. They also tried to find answers to some problems faced in the bioavailability and pharmacokinetic studies of drugs.Back


Painting project for handicapped kids
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Feb 10 — A painting and drawing project for the handicapped children of Saket Hospital, Chandi Mandir, was inagurated by Mr Arun Sharma, district governor of the Rotary today. The project is being funded by the Rotary Club of Panchkula and an instructor has been hired for the same.

Mr Sharma also visited the Bal Niketan in Sector 2, where women empowerment and women training programme is being undertaken for the economic uplift of the needy women by imparting them economic skills under projects funded by the Rotary Club.

Later, the District Governor inagurated a project for ‘’women empowerment’’, under which women would be imparted training in sewing, tailoring and embroidery. Back


Sport meet inaugurated
By Our Sports Reporter

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — The Annual Indoor Sport Meet of Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32, was inaugurated today at 'B' block of the hospital by Prof V.K. Kak, Secretary Medical Education and Research of the UT Administration.

Prof J.S. Chopra, Director Principal of the college was also present. Prof Kak and Prof Chopra also played a table tennis match against Prof H.S. Swami, Chairman of the college, and Dr A.S. Bawa, Convener of Sports of the college.

The annual athletics meet of the college will be held on February 26 and 27 at the Sector 46 Sports Complex.

Trials today: Trials to select the UT teams for the All-India Civil Services Badminton and Lawn Tennis Tournaments to be held at Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) from February 18 to 23 and at Chennai from February 21 to 27, respectively, will be held tomorrow at 3 pm. The venues for these trials are as follows: Badminton — Sector 42 Indoor Hall; lawn tennis — Lake Club courts.

Yoga camps: The Chandigarh Yoga Sabha will hold camps at different places in city, including schools, in order to make yoga popular. Mr Sushil Mittal, Secretary of the sabha, said men patients will be treated by Suresh Singla and women by Dr Shashi Shah through asana or kriyas at Divya Yoga Mandir, Shivalik Enclave, Mani Majra. Today, birthday of Swami Devi Dayal, founder of the Divya Yoga Mandir, was celebrated.

Athletics meet: The Dev Memorial Athletics Meet for veterans and youngsters will be held on February 13 at the Sector 7 Athletics Club, according to Mr Amarjit Singh, Organising Secretary of the meet. The age groups for the meet are as follows: Men — above 40, above 50 and above 60; women — above 35, above 45 and above 55.Back


Six deer released in forest; monkeys in line
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — It was just a coincidence. The Department of Wildlife of the Chandigarh Administration captured a monkey on one hand and released some spotted deer in the forests today.

Six spotted deer, including two males, were perhaps not very keen to leave captivity on a rainy day. But once the cages were open, they ran to freedom in the natural environs of the Kansal forest.

Earlier in the day, the officials of the department were all over the city looking for the monkeys and succeeded in capturing one from the Sector 30 CSIO area.

Only yesterday, Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted the plight of residents of Sector 16 who have been regularly troubled by the monkeys. The special team of Wildlife Department officials returned empty handed from Sector 16 today.

The captured monkey would also be released in a far-off forest area, says Mr H.S. Sohal, Chief Wildlife Warden of Chandigarh.

"My only appeal to the residents of the city is not to offer prasad or other eatables to monkeys as and when they invade a sector. Once they get used to eatables, prasad and other items, then they become a nuisance. It is then the residents complain of harassment by monkeys," adds Mr Sohal.

He also recalls a recent incident in which a monkey, who was creating problems for residents of Sector 7, was tranquillised. The monkey, after being hit by the tranquillising needle, slumped in the courtyard of a house but the owners did not open the door to the wildlife officials.

As a result, the officials not only failed to take away the money but also lost the special needle which is normally not available here. It comes from Indore and costs about Rs 100 each. Some of the monkeys are not even scared of these needles as they pull them out even after it has pierced some part of the body.

Talking about spotted deer, Mr Sohal said that these deer were kept in captivity for multiplication. As they had multiplied in good numbers, two pairs of spotted deer were released earlier also in the sanctuary area in the union territory. They had adopted this area as their natural habitat because of good environment and had multiplied.

The fauna which was found in the sanctuary area included sambhar, wild boar, porcupine, jackal, monkeys, red jungle fowl, peacock and python. A pair of leopards had also been spotted in the sanctuary area which meant that sufficient pray base and water were available in the sanctuary. It also pointed to good health of the eco-system of the area.Back


Birmingham Mayor visits city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 — Mr Ian McArdle, Mayor of Birmingham, accompanied by a delegation, called on the Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), at Punjab Raj Bhavan yesterday.

The visiting Mayor told General Jacob he was on a goodwill visit to Punjab as there was a large Punjabi population in his city. He said he was exploring the possibility of collaborating with the universities and educational institutions in Punjab to encourage student-exchange programme.

The Governor advised the visiting Mayor to explore the possibility of collaborating with the Punjab Public School at Nabha, as 98 per cent of students of this school were from rural Punjab.

Mr Surjinder Sangha, an educationist accompanying the Mayor, said he would get in touch with the authorities of the school. The Mayor's wife also accompanied the delegation.Back

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