Seventy is the new fifty

India is rapidly developing. Not only have we made significant technological and agricultural advancements, our living standards and quality has gained a tremendous momentum. Life expectancy at birth, from being a paltry 36yrs at the time of independence has steadily increased to near 70 years as of today. More and more people are clocking 70s and 80s and and enjoy a very high quality of life. Open heart surgery which was considered a big taboo in the early 1960s has evolved similarly. With less than 50% survival in the early days, open heart surgery has climbed the safety ladder over decades to be one of the safest surgical procedures. With rapidly evolving technologies and modern medical practices, complications rates have exponentially declined and patient outcome substantially improved. At present, the risks associated with Heart Bypass Surgery rivals any other surgical procedure which is well below 1%. We have made this arduous journey over decades so our patients ultimately benefit out of it. This is evident from the fact that more and more patients are reposing their faith in Cardiac Surgeons and opting for Open Heart Surgery.

With improved Primary Heart Surgical outcomes, people/patients are living well beyond the normal life expectancy otherwise. This has led to a spurt of REDO cases in the last decade or so. From REDO open heart surgery, one should understand that it’s not as simple as it may sound. It involves opening the chest again, identifying the right things that needs to be fixed without causing damage to the working blood vessels and all this in a kind of a frozen operative field.

If performed safely, it not only adds productive quality of years to a patient’s life but also alleviates the fear of impending death. The risks of REDO Heart surgery are a bit higher as compared to primary Open Heart Surgery, but if performed by safe and experienced hands, the outcomes are nearly as good. We, as a team at Wockhardt Hospital always strive to achieve the desired outcome. Recently, one such septuagenerian patient who had undergone a heart valve surgery a few years ago presented in a state of acute heart failure. After initial medical optimisation, his ECHO revealed the dysfunctional prosthetic valve for which he underwent a REDO heart Valve Surgery. The patient had an excellent recovery and was discharged soon after. He is back on his feet and enjoying life to the fullest. A thought struck me that day that, age is just a number. Seventy is the new Fifty.

Dr Manish Garg is an internationally acclaimed heart surgeon and specialises in Heart Bypass Surgery, Valve Surgeries, REDO operations and Heart Transplant.

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