12 April 2009
By Vivek Narayan
While Indians are proven to be genetically predisposed to heart diseases – at least 10 years earlier than their western counterparts – delays in reaching a hospital and getting the life-saving ‘clog busters’ are the major causes of deaths due to heart attack in the country.
Heart specialists across the country are in agreement on this point, underscored by a study published in the British medical journal Lancet. The study by Canadian and Indian researchers found that the biggest problem in India is that people in emergency are unable to reach hospitals quickly. The Lancet study said India will account for 60% of heart patients by 2010.
On an average, it takes 300 minutes to reach a hospital in India, more than twice as long when compared to the response time in developed nations. Few patients use an ambulance to reach a hospital. Most use private or public transport because they do not have money to hire an autorickshaw or a car.
“Time is muscle,” says senior cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon at Apollo Hospitals, Delhi and Global Health chairman Dr Naresh Trehan.
In Case of Chest Pain...
Dissolve an aspirin in water and take it.
If the pain or burning sensation persists for more than 15 minutes, get an ECG done at the nearest clinic or call an ambulance.
Even small clinics have life-saving streptokinase, considered ‘clog busters.’ Then shift to a well-equipped hospital.