“I always had a feeling that I was immune to heart-related diseases as I followed a healthy lifestyle. Every day I used to walk four to five kilometres and avoided all types of fat in my food. One day during my regular morning walk I felt a slight pain in my chest but when I slowed my pace it vanished.
The same thing was repeated on two more days and it was then I went to a cardiologist. Four blocks were detected in my arteries and surgery was recommended. On the 25th day after my surgery I was allowed to go to office. Within days I was back to my full-fledged office routine,” recounts T U Varkey who underwent a bypass surgery at Lisie Heart Institute three months back. He was talking at ‘Hrudaya Sangamam,’ a get-together of patients who underwent heart surgery at the Heart Institute of Lisie hospital.
More than 300 patients, along with their family members, took part in the programme. ‘Hrudaya Sangamam’ was a platform for them to share their experiences and clear doubts about their health and general well being, which the doctors answered patiently.
While some were concerned about the diet after surgery a few wanted to clarify doubts about their medicines. Exercise, family history of heart disease and varied symptoms of cardiac arrest were some of the subjects the patients put forward at this get together. And all of them expressed their gratitude to the experts at the hospital who gave them a new lease of life.
During the programme staff members working in the different departments of cardiology and cardio-thoracic surgery were introduced. Faculty members who were directly or indirectly involved with the treatment of patients - echo and TMT, cardiac cath lab, CCU, cardio thoracic surgical ICU, clinical profusion, physiotherapy and radiology - interacted with the participants along with doctors.
The interactive section was helpful in convincing the patients as well as their family members that they can now lead a normal life. The interactive session was followed by a talk on positive thinking by Dr Joseph Mathew, scientist and professor at the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Mannuthy, Thrissur.
District Collector Dr M Beena who inaugurated the programme stressed the need for such follow-up programmes that benefit the patients greatly. She pointed out that patients should keep a strong bond with the hospital even after the treatment to ensure that they easily return to a normal life and stay comfortable.
Two instruction books authored by Dr Jose Chacko Periyapuram, Head of Cardiac Surgery, - Hyridaya Shastrakriyakku Munpu (before heart surgery) and Hridaya Shastrakriyakku Sesham (after heart surgery) were released at the programme.
Both the books contain vital information about heart diseases and their treatment.
Fr Mathew Muttomthotty, director of Lisie Hospital, said that the programme was conducted as the first step towards a project to rehabilitate heart patients.