Amazing Strides in Cardiac Surgery

Padma Sri Dr Jose Chacko Periappuram, MBBS, FR CS (Glasgow), FR CS (Edinburgh), FRCS (UK), is one of the most celebrated cardiac surgeons in India. He was the one who performed the first successful heart transplant in the state of Kerala as well as the first-ever successful heart re-transplant in the country. Dr Chacko’s other achievements include the first Beating Heart, Awake Bypass, and Total Arterial Revascularization surgeries in the state. He is chairman of Heart Care Foundation, a charitable trust that financially assists poor heart patients. He is now the chief cardiac surgeon and head of the Cardiothoracic Department of Lissie Hospital, Kochi.

Open heart surgery is carried out on a baby at the Narayana Hrudayalaya Institue of Cardiac Sciences in Bangalore, India, June 30, 2005. The Narayana Hrudayalaya has over 500 beds with 10 operating rooms to perform 25 heart surgeries a day and plans to grow to 780 beds and 30 operating rooms to perform 75 heart surgeries a day. The hospital gets referrals from 8 countries for complex heart diseases especially in newborn babies, barely few hours old. There are only a few teams of neonatal cardiac surgeons who routinely performs switches and double switches for complex heart problems, such as Transposition of Great Arteries in newborn babies. Many of the operations are carried out at little to no cost to the patients and cross subsidised by better off patients who come to use the facilities.  (Photo by Michael Crabtree/Getty Images)

Open heart surgery carried out on a baby 

Dr Jose Chacko has participated in over 15,000 heart surgeries and has independently performed over 10,000 surgeries. He has trained many surgeons who became senior consultants in many esteemed institutions in India and abroad. He has also performed a very large number of valvular heart surgeries and has performed the maximum number of tissue root replacements in India. He has not only helped establish open heartsurgery as a commonly done procedure in the state but has also helped various governmental hospitals in Kerala to establish heart surgery facilities.

Recognising his achievements, the Government of India conferred on him the Padma Sri award in 2011. His latest feat was that of giving leadership to the first air ambulance-assisted heart transplant in his base hospital, Lissy Hospital, in Kochi recently. The heart of the brain-dead patient, Neelakanda Sharma, at Sree Chitra Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram, was removed and taken to airport by a team of doctors headed by Dr Jose Chacko Periyapuram at 6.44 p.m. on July 24, 2015. The Navy’s air ambulance took off immediately with the just-harvested heart and landed at Willingdon Island in Kochi at 7.34 p.m. Dr Chacko and his team successfully performed the heart transplant on Mathew, an autorickshaw driver, in a delicate procedure which lasted 6 hours.

In this exclusive interview to Safety Messenger, Dr Chacko speaks at length on the latest development in cardiac care and surgery as well as the agonies and ecstasies he experienced in his eventful career.

(Read the full part of this interview from August Issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)

Author: SubEditor

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