Heart Disease affecting Youth in North Karnataka: Dr. Richard Saldanha

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the number one killer disease in India and North Karnataka is no exception opined Dr. Richard Saldanha, Chief Cardiac Surgeon of KLES         Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital, Belagavi. He was deliberating on the topic “Prevalence of Heart Disease in North Karnataka” at BLDE University, Vijayapura on 5th Aug 2023.   Quoting references from scientific studies he lamented that death rate of 272 per lakh  population due to heart disease is very high and it has become the responsibility of the medical fraternity to halt the burgeoning increase in heart disease.

The escalation of CHD in North Karnataka can be explained by the alarming rise in the prevalence of coronary risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, smoking, rampant use of tobacco products, high alcohol consumption, stress, change in food habits, obesity, lack of physical activity, sitting glued in front of Television computers/mobile phones & various other gadgets have emerged as the major risk factors for increase in heart disease.  

The heart disease which was prevalent in the age group of 60 years and above is  now showing its manifestations at the young age group of 30-40 years. Dr. Richard said, it is unfortunate that, young & productive age group individuals of 30-40 years of age are reporting for heart surgery with advanced diffuse disease having near complete blockage of arteries.  He also highlighted increased incidence of carotid artery blockages which may lead to stroke. Cases like pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and peripheral vascular disease are the outcome of rampant use of tobacco chewing. Rheumatic Heart Disease is worst enemy infecting heart valves needing valve replacement. KLES Cardiac Surgery department is the 8th Centre in the country which is performing “OZAKI” procedure (repair of aortic valve by using its pericardium) has attained appreciations from medical fraternity.


Strategy for Prevention of Heart Disease:

Promoting health education and awareness about the pathogenesis of CHD, discouraging smoking and tobacco use and adapting to a healthy diet and exercise routine will promote better cardiovascular health. Reducing high fat dairy, carbohydrates, saturated fats and increasing daily intake of fruit and vegetables will also improve overall health.  Dr. Richard stressed on strict control of diabetes, hypertension and need to encourage early heart screening detection and treatment. Promoting healthy group exercise activities such as walking, yoga and meditation to be practised regularly will certainly aid in preventing the rising epidemic of CHD.

He called on young medicos to take your medical internship very seriously; it is important stepping stone for your future. Internship enhances your mental, technical & behavioural skills to manage patients with professionalism & integrity. He also highlighted that heart failure is emerging in a big way in North Karnataka and heart transplantation is the only remedy for advanced heart disease. 10 successful heart transplants have been performed in the last four years with excellent results at KLES Hospital, Belagavi. He thanked Arogya Karnataka-Ayushman Bharath Scheme & Prime Ministers Financial aid for extending assistance to heart transplantation. 

Later Dr. Gananjay Salve, Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon who is trained in Australia in his presentation highlighted that, complex neonatal & paediatric surgeries are performed regularly with excellent results. Dr. Ravi Ghatnatti, First Minimal Invasive Cardiac Surgeon of North Karnataka said cardiac surgery has evolved over the years and endoscopic cardiac surgery will revolutionise cardiac surgery. Minimal invasive cardiac surgery ushers a small incision which is painless with minimal blood loss & patients are discharged within 3-5 days & get back to their work in 2-3 weeks.

 Dr. R S Mudhol, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of BLDE University, Dr. Arvind Patil, Dean, Prof Y M Jayraj, Pro Chancellor, Dr. R V Kulkarni, Registrar, Dr. Vijayakumar Kalyanappagol, Dr. Rajesh Honnutagi, all the faculty and medical students were present in the scientific deliberations.

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