I received a phone call from a friend a little while back who wanted to know who is the best cardiologist in gurgaon for getting heart treatment. His friend’s father suffered a heart attack and was taken to one of the prominent hospitals of gurgaon where the doctors performed coronary angiography and found that 3 coronary arteries were blocked. They advised him to get angioplasty done and the cost given was 3 lac rupees. The patient doesn’t have any mediclaim so the family took the patient home and now they are trying to figure out where to get the procedure done where they can get the lowest cost for angioplasty in India and there is no compromise in the treatment at the same time. Many patients go through this dilemma and therefore I am trying to demystify the procedure of heart treatment. Till the government capped the prices of the coronary stents the procedure for angioplasty was costing anywhere between Rs. 75000 – 100000 at almost all the major hospitals in Gurgaon plus the cost of the stent. Each stent would cost anywhere between Rs. 70000 – 125000 which meant that Angioplasty with one stent would cost Rs. 150000 – 225000 while the same procedure with 2 stents would cost Rs. 220000 – 300000. In cases where 3 arteries were blocked the preferable option would be Heart Bypass Surgery but this was also not always advised. Since the patient lands up in the terrain of a Cardiologist who sees the patient first in the Emergency room and performs Coronary Angiography, the advice was also loaded in favour of the Cardiologist. Here it is important to understand that if angioplasty is to be done then it would be done by Cardiologists and if Bypass Surgery is to be done then it is done by Cardiac Surgeons. Referring the patient for cardiac surgery means loss of income for the cardiologist and therefore many patients who could afford the cost of angioplasty were given the choice of this procedure even in the cases where three arteries were blocked. The cost of Heart Bypass surgery ranges between Rs. 200000 – 300000 at the various Gurgaon Hospitals. This was the scenario before the capping on the stent price came into the picture. Now the government has capped the price of coronary stent to Rs. 28 – 30 thousand and therefore ideally the cost of coronary angioplasty should have come down drastically. The costs have come down but not very significantly as the hospitals have increased the price of the angioplasty procedure to Rs. 1.25 – 2 lacs plus the cost of the stent. So now an Angioplasty procedure with one stent would cost Rs. 1.60 – 2.30 lacs almost the same as earlier. However the cost of angioplasty for 3 stents has come down by about one lac. Due to the cost factor, a large number of cardiologists can now prescribe angioplasty even in triple vessel disease where earlier they had the pressure of advising Open Heart Surgery due to the cost advantage to the patient. In some patients who suffer from triple vessel disease but are otherwise healthy and do not have multiple diseases, heart bypass surgery would be a better option in the long term as compared to Coronary Angioplasty. Heart Bypass Surgery is an open surgery and the patient needs alteast 45 days for complete recovery while Angioplasty is a quick fix solution where the patient is doing fine within 7-10 days of the procedure. This itself is an attraction for the patient and therefore the number of Bypass Surgeries are on decline.
Now the question as to which is the best cardiologist or the best hospital for getting this procedure done. The results of Coronary Angioplasty would depend on the twin factors of the man and the machine. The machine which is involved in doing this procedure is `Cath Lab’. Till some time back the only cath labs which were available in the country were from some of the most reputed medical equipment companies in the world like GE, Siemens and Philips. Now Cathlabs from Indian Companies like Allengers are also there in the market. Any good cathlab from the above mentioned International companies would not cost less than 2.5 Crores while Cath Lab from Indian companies would be available for half this cost. Then there is the question of the Cardiologist. Any good cardiologist should have either a DM degree or a DNB degree in Cardiology from a reputed institute and should have experience of atleast 8 – 10 years before you can trust their skills. Matters of heart need full satisfaction of the mind before you can move forward. One important factor that you should consider is how many angio procedures are being done in the hospital every month. In any Indian city a good heart hospital which is atleast 2 years old should be doing atleast 150 Angio Procedures every month to be considered as a safe place.
Today Cath Labs and Cardiologists are available in more than 300 Indian Cities and Coronary Procedures are being done so frequently that one reputed cardiologist in Jaipur does more than 1200 Angio Procedures every month with an excellent success rate and at almost half the price as compared to the Metro towns. Things are not so simple when it comes to Open Heart Surgery as the facility must have a good Cardio-thoracic team with a state of art Cardiac Operation Theatre and other facilites like Blood Bank, CCU and multi-disciplinary team to handle any kind of complications. Medanta Medicity and Fortis Hospital at Gurgaon are undoubtedly two of the best places to get Heart Bypass Surgery. Narayana Hospitals are there at many cities in India and must be having good Cardiac surgeons but their hospital at Bangalore is considered the best for heart surgery as the programme is headed by Dr Devi Shetty who is one of the most renowned heart surgeon in the country apart from Dr Naresh Trehan.
It would be extremely difficult to name the best cardiologists in the country as every city would have some great names like Dr Rajneesh Kapoor, Dr Madhukar Shahi, Dr D.K.Jhamb, Dr Sanjeev Choudhary, Dr Arvind Dass, Dr Niraj Kumar in Gurgaon, Dr Ashok Seth at New Delhi and Dr Prakash Chandwani at Jaipur. Even smaller towns like Moradabad have Dr Anurag Mehrotra, Rewari has Dr Abhay Kumar who are considered very good cardiologists in India.
So in conclusion, if you need to undergo coronary angioplasty then there is no need to rush to the metro towns as the facilities, doctors and the equipments in many smaller cities are also world class. However if you have to under open heart surgery then you should carefully select the hospital as the risks involved in open heart surgery are much more than coronary angioplasty.