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Times of India
5 February, 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
Mumbai, India

When Mauritius–based Prem Singh Sookhary (59) was informed by local doctors that he had five arterial blockages, which they were unwilling to operate due to medical complications and high risk factor, he was devastated. It was as if the doctors had sounded a death knell. That is, until he landed up on the operating table of Dr Ramakant Panda who has also operated on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Now, the harrowing months when Sookhary lived in the constant fear that he would die of cardiac failure are finally behind him, as the businessman prepares to leave Mumbai for his home country, with a heart that is as good as new.

With a history of heart diseases–Sookhary had suffered two cardiac arrests a year ago, and survived two brain strokes (haemorrhage) in a span of seven years–doctors in Mauritius were unwilling to operate on the five arterial blockages that recent tests had revealed. “Most doctors could not guarantee his recovery or even his survival post surgery,” said his wife, Banoomattee. “The doctors in Mauritius told us that chances of survival would be not more than 25% if they operated on him. They said there was a high possibility the patient could suffer another stroke if a bypass surgery was performed on him.”

Sookhary and his wife were not ready to accept the verdict. Due to the blockages, his daily activities were affected. “He could not walk properly, always felt suffocated and there a feeling of heaviness in the chest,” said Banoomattee. Things changed for the better, however, when Dr Panda, the managing director at the Asian Heart Institute, informed the worried family that Sookhary’s survival rate was definitely more than 25 per cent.

He performed a successful beating heart surgery on the patient. “Apart from the risk arising out of multiple blockages, the patient was also diabetic,” said Panda, adding that patient’s arteries were also very thin.

Off–pump or beating heart surgery can help minimise complications that usually come with temporarily stopping the heart. According to Dr Panda, a beating heart surgery in such complicated cases meant swift recovery and better survival. “He had five blockages but that did not mean he could not survive,” he said.

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