Friday, February 23, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


New OPD on March 12
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — The new OPD of the PGI is likely to be opened on March 12. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of senior professors and representatives of the hospital administration held under the chairmanship of the PGI Director, Prof S.K. Sharma, here today.

As per sources, it was decided in principle to shift the present OPDs of the institute to the new OPD block, while the date for its formal opening by a VVIP would be decided later.

The building, completed about a year and a half back, had been awaiting a formal opening by a VVIP. However, as per the sources, the institute authorities had written to the Prime Minister’s Office requesting the Prime Minister to inaugurate it. Considering the busy schedule of the PM, the opening date kept getting delayed.

After the shifting of the OPDs, the space in the old building will be renovated and utilised to create more facilities for the departments.

The five-storeyed 2,70,000-square feet OPD, in fact had been visualised more than a decade ago. Administrative approval for the OPD was given in the 29th Standing Estate Committee meeting held on November 13, 1990. The initial cost for the building was estimated at Rs 11.18 crore.

The construction work for the four blocks commenced in November 1994. In December 1997, the construction cost was revised to Rs 17.90 crore. The building, costing about Rs 20 crore, was eventually completed in December 1999. And since then it has been awaiting a VVIP to formally cut the ribbon. 


Gene therapy ‘could be answer’
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — Whereas recovery following a heart attack depends upon several parameters and individuals, however some amount of damage to the muscles and vessels of the organ is almost certain. This, according to Prof Vidya S. Banka, Director, Interventional Cardiology and Catheterisation Laboratories, University of Pennsylvania Health System, USA, could change in the near future as with the ongoing research in gene therapy, the generation of new muscles and vessels following a heart attack could be very well possible. Interestingly, preliminary studies, in Boston, USA, have shown that blood vessels in the heart can be regenerated with gene therapy, says Professor Banka.

Professor Banka is in the city these days in connection with a symposium on cardiology which commences at the PGI on February 24. The Tribune caught up with the eminent cardiologist, with more than 10,000 coronary angioplasties to his credit, to find out more about the latest in his area of specialisation — coronary heart disease, left ventricular function and interventional cardiovascular techniques.

Professor Banka, who did his postgraduation from the PGI in 1967, was among the first few persons in the world to have started coronary angioplasty in 1980. Besides several publications on various catheter designs used in coronary interventions, he has designed the ‘‘Banka tapered balloon catheter’’ for naturally tapering coronary artery therapy, helping reduce complications of coronary dissection injuries due to variation of the lumen. The angioplastic balloon was approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the USA in 1991 and since then is extensively used, he explains.

What is the latest the world is doing in coronary angioplasty?

Angioplasty techniques have advanced with artherectomy and stenting making these procedures very safe. But even the world is yet to reach the ultimate in cardiology. In many disorders, particularly coronary artery disease, there are several limitations. The normal blood flow after coronary bypass and angioplasty cannot be restored.

Besides, following an episode of heart attack, muscles and blood vessels once destroyed cannot be regenerated and the functions of the organ keep deteriorating. Preliminary studies have shown that gene therapy could provide an answer.

What would be your advice to people as a cardiologist?

Prevention is more important than treatment. With the present techniques and treatment, 30 per cent of heart attacks are preventable if people pay attention to cessation of smoking, regular check-ups for levels of cholesterol and lipoproteins. Those with a family history need to be particularly vigilant and must go in for a check-up latest by the age of 40 followed by at least two yearly follow-ups.

The average age of people suffering heart attacks seems to be reducing?

I do not agree with this. However, what has happened is that with the available facilities and awareness we are detecting the disease much earlier than we used to.

What are the earliest symptoms of a heart attack?

Discomfort in the chest particularly after exercise, walking or going uphill. A discussion with the family and the doctor should be initiated particularly if discomfort lasts more than 20 minutes.

What about silent attacks?

Some people , particularly diabetics, do not have sensitivity of pain, which is why they cannot perceive the oncoming attack. Also, arhythmias or erratic heart beat related to the attack called ventricular tachycardia fibrillation could lead to sudden death.

Two possibilities of treatment exist. Dissolving medications such as streptokinase and TPA to open the artery besides immediate angioplasty and stenting. But this can be done only at centres where the facility is available. Angioplasty and stenting are more appropriate to open the arteries than dissolving techniques as they save the heart muscles and reduce the size of the damaged segment of the heart.

What would you advise a person fearing the possibility of a heart attack?

Judging by the symptoms if a heart attack is occurring then the patient should immediately reach the hospital rather than waiting at home for the doctor to arrive, as is customary in India.

But at times symptoms of heartburn, a common digestive problem, resemble a heart attack.

Exactly. This is why a doctor’s diagnosis becomes so important.

With the existing facilities do you think that most medical centres in the country are well-equipped to deal with emergency situations.

There have been tremendous advances in facilities which certainly match world standards when it comes to elective procedures like coronary bypass and angioplasty after a diagnosis has been made. Where we lack is in the emergency performance of these procedures and attention given to heart patients in the emergency departments of hospitals. At times, doctors are just not able to provide immediate attention.

What would you recommend?

Additional opening of catheterisation laboratories for patients requiring immediate angioplasty. The PGI has just one laboratory with ageing technology and machinery, which is why in many cases they are still using clot-dissolving techniques. Awareness of the government and the authorities regarding deficiencies in equipment and staffing would certainly help improve the facilities at the PGI which, being a major teaching centre, should be equipped with the latest technology.

Considering the existing facilities at the PGI, what advice would you give to a person if he has suffered a heart attack?

I would suggest that he go to the emergency room of a hospital where immediate treatment is provided by a technically qualified cardiologist.

A private hospital maybe?

A centre providing a particular speciality treatment may not be giving additional facilities. Someone who has suffered a heart attack would also require dialysis. Besides, hospitals oriented towards private patients may not be able to provide for the rural population. Big private set-ups would certainly take care of all this.



UT powerlifters corner glory
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — The masters’ Chandigarh powerlifting team consisting of seven members participated in the Masters’ National (men and women) Powerlifting Championship held at Hyderabad from February 17 to 19. The team won eight gold medals and five silver medals.

In 100 kg, Jagdish Singh, a trainee of P.S. Club, Mohali, won four silver medals, by lifting a total weight of 655 kg. He won a silver medal in squat by lifting 250 kg, silver in bench press by lifting 165 kg and silver in dead-lifting by lifting 240 kg.

In 110 kg, Nirmaljit Singh, international lifter and captain of the team, won four gold medals by lifting a total of 697.5 kg. He bagged a gold medal in squat, bench press and dead lift.

In 125 kg, Vijay Kumar won four gold medals by lifting a total weight of 625 kg. He also won a gold medal in squat, bench press and dead lift.

In 75 kg, Gurinder Singh, finished fourth by lifting a total weight of 537.5 kg. He won a silver medal in dead lift by lifting of weight 237.5.

In 67.5 class, Lal Singh got the sixth position, according to Mr H.S. Bansal, secretary of the Chandigarh Powerlifting Association.


GCG-42, SD-32 win
By Our Sports Reporter

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — Government College for Girls, Sector 42, and GGD SD College, Sector 32, emerged winners on the opening day of the Senior Chandigarh Basketball tournament for the men’s and women’s section at the Sports Complex, Sector 7, here today. The three-day tournament is being organised by the Chandigarh Basketball Association.

In the women’s section match played between GCG-42 and Sports Complex, Sector 46, it was former which defeated at 44-15 with half-time score of 24-10. Kamaldeep was the top scorer with 17 baskets, followed by Sarita and Gunveen with 12 and 10 points, respectively. From losers side, Aarti Mehta was the highest scorer with 11 points.

In the men’s section, GGD SD College, Sector 32, outplayed Air Force XI by 35-27 with half-time score of 25-14. Chander Prakash was the highest scorer for winners side with 16 points, Mandeep with eight points and Harvir will seven points. S.K. Koundel and Sridhar netted 17 and six points, respectively, for losers side. In all, seven men and five women teams are taking part in the meet which is being played according to new format applied by the Basketball Federation of India.

Sports function:
The Department of Sports, Panjab University, will organise annual sports prize distribution function of the campus on Wednesday at English auditorium, according to Mr Kewal Singh, Assistant Director, Sports.

Wushu championship:
The Chandigarh Wushu Association will hold 2nd North Zone Wushu Championship for men and women, sanshu and routine section at the Sports Complex, Sector 42, on May 5 and 6. 



Kerosene prices revised
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Feb 22 — The Chandigarh Administration has revised the wholesale and retail prices of kerosene in the city. The retail price is up by 11 paise and the consumer will now be able to procure the same by paying Rs 8.04 per litre instead of Rs 7.93 per litre.

The wholesale price fixed is Rs 7,243.41 per kilolitre, exclusive of sales tax and other taxes.

Sources reveal that there are nearly 1 lakh consumers users in the city, mostly people belonging to weaker sections of society residing in labour colonies and villages. This includes 20 litres per family with more than 2 units, 10 litres with a family of 2 units and 3 litres for those with single gas connection. The ration card holders with two gas connections are not entitled to avail this facility.


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