Stanching the bleeding heart

Heart surgeon K M Cherian has become the first doctor in India to perform heart surgery using a new technique known as trans-myocardial revascularisation (TMR). Performed previously only in the US, TMR reduces the recovery time for heart surgery and prevents an excessive loss of blood, obviating the need for blood transfusions.

Unlike conventional open heart surgery, TMR involves only a small incision on the left side of the chest, enabling the patient to return to work in just 3 weeks, as compared to a 3 month recovery period for a bypass surgery. The entire process, including extensive pre-operational tests, TMR and post operative care, takes just 10 days and costs Rs 1.5 lakh. Cherian, who is the director of the Madras Medical Mission Hospital, says that TMR is particularly useful in elderly patients, or suffer from bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis or hypertension.

Mahmood Mishoseini of the Heart and Lung Institute of Wisconsin in the US pioneered this technique where Surgeons creat new blood supplies for the heart using computer controlled high powered carbon dioxide lasers to drill 30-45 tiny channels directly into heart muscles that has been starved by blocked arteries.The blood sleeps directly into the heart muscle rejuvenating it.

The entire TMR unit costs US $1 million. The Madras Medical Mission Hospital TMR instrument is the first of its kind in the Australo-Asian region, and the 8th of its kind in the world.