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World Heart Day 2021: Industry insights

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On World Heart Day 2021, experts discusses the causes for rise in CVDs and the preventive measures that can be employed for prevention of the same and highlights the role of technology & innovation in fast-tracking the process

With an aim of creating awareness on cardiovascular diseases, World Heart Day is celebrated every year on September 29.

Every year, the day is observed with a specific theme. This year, the theme of World Health Day is ‘harnessing the power of digital health to improve awareness, prevention and management of CVD globally’.

Several industry leaders discusses the causes for rise in CVDs and the preventive measures that can be employed for prevention of the same and highlights the role of technology & innovation in fast-tracking the process.

Over the years, innovations in the MedTech sector have enhanced the quality of the healthcare delivery, resulting in better clinical outcomes. However, COVID-19 has been a reminder that the penetration of high-end technologies remains limited to urban areas. The Government of India has taken significant strides towards strengthening the innovation ecosystem be it in terms of setting up dedicated centres to assist with innovations in healthcare, launching digital platforms and programmes or creating an enabling environment and policy framework for equitable access to healthcare delivery. At Boston Scientific, our focus would continue to be on partnering with the Central and State govts to scale up innovative techniques across the country along with up-skilling healthcare talent to deliver these solutions for desired patient outcomes.

Manoj Madhavan, Managing Director, India, Boston Scientific

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is responsible for most of the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD) accounting for over 17.9 million deaths globally in 2019. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attack and stroke. We’ve observed a rise in the use of technology in CVD care and management around the world. Outpatient departments (OPDs) and follow-ups in cardiac care have migrated to telemedicine, just like any other specialty, with patients employing telephonic or video conferencing services, as the COVID-19 epidemic has swept the globe. Worldwide, more than five billion people own mobile phones with Health Apps and opportunities to deliver healthcare digitally are expanding exponentially with strategies such as internet portals, data-driven precision medicine and smartphone applications The global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the use and acceptability of remote monitoring and other digital approaches to cardiovascular disease treatment. Doctors are currently evolving with different cardiac technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, Alexa skills, and chatbots. Cardiovascular therapy that are digitally enabled have been found to improve patient outcomes and decrease hospital readmissions.

Dr Yugal Kishore Mishra, Head-Cardiac Sciences & Chief Cardio Vascular Surgeon, Manipal Hospital, Dwarka, New Delhi

Our struggles in fighting COVID-19 have taught us the importance of health of our loved ones. It has highlighted the need for innovative ways to connect with people using digital technology. Telehealth has played a huge role in improving awareness, prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). COVID-19 reiterated the essence of digital health which has been critical in improving health outcomes and quality of life. However, the traditional way of prevention and management will gain more relevance once we overcome the pandemic.

Considering the fact that the main causes of CVD are smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, Rotary, along with The Art of Living foundation, is conducting one million tests for diabetes this World Heart Day as part of its initiative ‘One Nation, One Day and One Million Tests’. The purpose of this drive is to increase awareness on diabetes and serious health implications it brings along for instance people with diabetes are twice more prone to a heart attack and don’t feel chest pain due to nerve damage caused by poorly-controlled diabetes. India is home to over 72 million people with diabetes, according to International Diabetes Federation. The best prevention of heart and blood vessel disease is to look after themselves and their sugar levels.”

-Dr Bharat Pandaya, laparoscopic surgeon and Director, Rotary Club Borivli

Heart disease is one of the major cause of mortality in our country. Until few years ago, the disease was predominantly seen in 40-60 years of age, but now it is increasingly visible even in the younger population aged between 25-40 years of age. In the last 2 years there has been rise in incidents of myocardial infarction (heart attacks) reported amongst 25 -40 year olds. Sedentary lifestyle, increased consumption of processed food, lifestyle habits like consumption of alcohol and smoking are the major cause for the rise. The COVID-19 induced stress is also one of the predominant factor that contributes to the increase in heart ailments. At Narayana Heath City, we are seeing around 6-7 patients  per month with Myocardial Infarction in  the 25-40 years of age.  Ensuring a proper diet, exercising regularly and getting heath check-ups done at regular intervals can help in not only averting the emergency situation that the disease can cause but also in avoiding the onset of the condition itself.

-Dr Praveen Sadarmin, Consultant, Interventional Cardiologist, Narayana Health City

The advances in cardiology over the last few decades have altered outcomes for heart patients. Today, there is a broad portfolio of structural heart solutions for different conditions. From structural inventions to surgical valve therapies, science is bringing pioneering innovations to people for every stage of heart disease. Today our focus is on innovative technologies that redefine possibilities for people’s lives by changing the way cardiovascular disease is treated so they can live healthier, better lives. These technologies improve the way clinicians treat people with vascular diseases, irregular heartbeats and diseases of the heart’s valves and other structures. To put it in perspective, physicians are now able to manage heart rhythm conditions, use remote monitoring devices to keep an eye on their patients, and treat a wide profile of structural heart diseases for more effective outcomes. Diseases of the heart are complex, and success depends on innovation that brings to reality treatment options once thought impossible.

-Payal Agrawal, GM & Country Head, Structural Heart Division, Abbott

With rising illnesses like stroke and IHD (ischemic heart disease) contributing significantly to global mortality and disability, cardiovascular devices and their importance in heart-related therapies are increasingly gaining attention. That is why Patient Monitoring is being made easier on a daily basis with upgraded wearable technology in electronic devices to track heart health in smartwatches or smartphones.

Several technological developments in Cardiac CT scanners, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are widely used to speed up post-examination processing.  Also, The damaged vascular segments are also exhibited in 3-D using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, providing a 360-degree view of the lab diagnostic procedure. While all these technological innovations are available in the medical industry, it’s more important than ever to be aware of heart disease diagnosis.

Dr. Asha Bhatnagar, MBBS & Lab Director, Lifeline Laboratory

This World Heart’s Day, I would like to request people to make lifestyle changes and follow preventive measures to avoid any cardiovascular complications. One should ensure to lead an active life refraining from alcohol consumption and smoking. Early detection and diagnosis is extremely crucial for heart health. Remote monitoring devices play an important role in keeping a check on one’s heart health. That data should be then evaluated by a doctor and seek guidance in case of a diversion. Remote monitoring becomes even critical if you have a family history of heart diseases as periodic health check-ups are important in these cases.  Unfortunately, in our country, healthcare is an out-of-pocket expense which leads to people not reaching out to the professionals on time which leads to delay in the treatment. Technology is excellent provided it is used in the right manner and interpreted correctly. It can help the doctors as well as patients to seek out timely intervention

Sunil Sofat, MD (Medicine), DM (Cardiology), Director-Interventional Cardiology Electrophysiology and Pacing, Jaypee Hospital

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic came as a surprise to many health experts, who had thought that this form of virus was eliminated. The outbreak started in December last year and cases grew exponentially over the next few months. Chronic heart failure (HF) is a major comorbidity accounting for an increased severity and mortality related to coronavirus. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 in HF patients, telemedicine was encouraged then. When the second wave led to a sharp spike in the footfall of patients, it became very challenging for me to keep up with the number of patients and write proper prescriptions for them. This is when I turned to HealthPlix EMR. Features like Video consultations with excellent video quality, automatic SMS alerts to the patients, and prescription forwarding by email have made my life easy. The EMR system also helped me detect early warning signs of heart failure among my patients and provide them with the right diagnosis and adequate medical support.

Dr Indranil Dutta, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Rabindranath Cardiac Sciences, Kolkata

Our country has seen a significant improvement in cardiac care in recent years. At a time when cases of cardiovascular diseases are constantly increasing especially among the young population, advanced imaging tools and even quality stents that meet benchmarks of safety, efficacy and quality are greatly reducing the burden of deaths caused by coronary artery disease (CAD) and stroke. Moreover, the healthcare sector is also seeing the emergence of remote connected care that offers electrocardiogram (ECG) diagnosis using cloud-based technology and bluetooth-enabled cardiac devices which analyses the risk factors and sends the data to the doctors or caregivers without physically visiting the clinic. When it comes to early care or better risk assessment, the use of wearable devices like smart watches are also helping in prevention, diagnosis and management of heart patients. These
smart wearables provide a lot of data with the help of sensors and softwares that can be helpful for doctors and technicians.
-Dr Rajan Thakur Chairman & Managing Director, Heart Hospital Patna
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