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Times Of India 31 August 2010
By Prithvijit Mitra
Kolkata, India

52–Year–Old First Indian To Undergo MitraClipping; Method Could Get Nod In India By 2011
Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor was one of the first celebrities to have a MitraClip Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor was one of the first celebrities to have a MitraClip
It’s a method that lets you bypass open heart surgery. The procedure, under trial in the US and Europe, is yet to be approved in India. But a patient from Kolkata, who was flown to Hamburg, Germany, in May, became the first Indian to undergo a MitraClipping abroad to plug a leaking valve. The surgery has been successful and may pave the way for more patients to opt for the technique abroad until it is approved back home.

Santosh Dugar, a 52–year–old realtor, underwent an angioplasty and a pacemaker was fitted to correct his condition. But that was not enough. He needed to get a leaking valve stitched. The only way out seemed the conventional open heart method, which could have been risky in his case.

"An open chest surgery might have been fatal. He had consulted the best surgeons in India but they advised him to stick to just clinical therapy. MitraClipping was the only method applicable. So, I helped him get in touch with a hospital in Hamburg that agreed to do it," said cardiac surgeon P K Hazra, who served as the second operator in the surgery.

Around 150 such surgeries have so far happened in west European nations. "I got in touch with Ola Franzen of Eppendorf Hospital in Hamburg. He agreed to do it and took me as a second operator. The surgery passed off smoothly and Dugar was back in India in a week’s time," said Hazra.

Health HopeHealth Hope
MitraClipping is done by inserting a tiny clip–like device in a catheter that reaches the heart and plugs the leaking valve. Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor was one of the first celebrities to have a Mitra–Clip. It is believed the clip is far safer than surgery and nearly as effective. A study presented at the American College of Cardiology conference found that people with conventional surgeries suffered major complications six times more than those with the MitraClip.

It is already on sale in Europe and manufacturer Abbott Laboratories hopes to win approval to start selling it in the US next year. In India, the therapy is expected to receive the go–ahead by 2011. "Next month, a Delhi hospital will perform the first aortic valve replacement in India.

We expect MitraClipping to receive the green signal in a year. It holds out hope for patients who can’t undergo an open heart," said Hazra, who attended a training programme in Hamburg and took part in five surgeries there.

"It took my father just a couple of days to recover. He didn’t have to be hospitalized in India. He is back to work," said Ravi Dugar, the patient’s son. While a MitraClip costs Rs 5 lakh, expenses of the technique to get it inserted – if done in Europe – could be more than Rs 20 lakh. The cost is expected to be half of that once the procedure begins in India.Boon For Complex Cases

How is MitraClipping done?
It is done by inserting a tiny clip–like device in a catheter that reaches the heart and plugs the leaking valve

Why is it better than conventional heart surgeries?
A study presented at the American College of Cardiology conference found that people with conventional surgeries suffered major complications six times more than those with the MitraClip

When will it come to India?
In India, the therapy is expected to receive the go–ahead by 2011

How much does it cost?
A MitraClip costs Rs 5 lakh and the surgery, if done in Europe, could cost more than Rs 20 lakh. The cost is expected to be half of that once the procedure begins in India

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