Advent of Cardiac Surgery in Himachal Pradesh

CCardiac Surgery is one of the most fascinating surgical speciality. Over the years it has evolved into a very refined and safe procedure which is being used to treat a large number of Heart diseases.

From the dictum of Billroth in the 19th Century where the surgeon would loose the respect of his collegues if one touches the heart was broken by the adventurous Intra Cardiac Surgery by Henry Souttar on 6th May 1925 in London. Since then many surgeons have made significant contribution in the development of Cardiac Surgery.

In 1932 Dr. John H. Gibbon who was working at Massachusetts General Hospital saw the disastrous outcome of pulmonary embolectomy which stimulated him to develop the Heart lung machine and succeeded in performing the first Intra Cardiac operation by using the Heart Lung machine on May 6th 1953. This invention was probably the greatest invention in medicine in the 20th Century.

Over the years, Cardiac Surgery has rapidly developed in India. Currently India is recognized as one of the leading countries in the field of Cardiac Surgery. The first Open Heart Surgery procedure in India using Cardiopulmonary Bypass was performed by Dr. K.M. Dastur at Nair Hospital, Mumbai in 1961. Since then great strides have been made in the field of Cardiac Surgery in India. In the early days of development of Cardiac Surgery in India this facility was available only in a few hospitals in -1- -2- metropolitan cities. However, over the last decade there has been a great expansion in the number of centres providing facilities for Cardiac Surgery. Over the years while Open Heart Surgery was becoming available to more and more people all over the country, the people of Himachal Pradesh did not have any institute where this facility was available.

Prior to 12th Dec. 2005 there was no facility for the people of Himachal Pradesh for undergoing Heart Surgery within the state. Patients suffering from diseases of the heart had to be referred to PGI, Chandigarh /AIIMS, New. Delhi.

A sincere effort to establish a state of the art facility for treatment of patients requiring Cardiac Surgery was started after Dr. R. Pathania joined as Assistant Prof. in the department of CTVS at IGMC after completing his Mch. CTVS from PGI Chandigarh in 1996. Over the next few years the infrastructure in the form of Two Modular Operation Theatres and an ICU were set up at IGMC. This facility was dedicated to the people of H.P on 19th Nov.2005 and the first Open Heart Surgery was performed by Prof. R. Pathania under the expert guidance of a team from AIIMS, New Delhi on 12th of Dec.2005.

The establishment of this facility at IGMC has gone a long way in mitigating the sufferings of the poor people of this hilly state who had to earlier go out of the state for getting treatment.

Since its inception in 2005, 720 Open Heart Surgeries have been performed at IGMC. The success rate of Open Heart Surgery at IGMC after its inception in 2006 was 95% which has now gone upto 98.4% in 2011 inspite of the increase in the number of complicated cases undergoing Open Heart Surgeries. Majority of the patients who have undergone Open Heart Surgery at IGMC belong to poor socioeconomic status & have received full financial assistance from the Chief Ministers Relief Fund. - -3-

A large variety of Cardiac Surgical Procedures are being performed at IGMC including Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting, Beating Heart Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting, Double Valve Replacement, Single Valve Replacement and Surgery for Congenital Heart Diseases like Atrial Septal Defect, Ventricular Septal Defect and complex congenital defects like Tetrology of Fallots, Tricuspid Atresia and AV Canal Defects.

There are very few institutions in the Govt. sector in North India giving facility for open Heart Surgery. The Cardiac Surgery centre at IGMC is one of the few which is functioning smoothly inspite of a large number of constraints. The success rate of Open Heart Surgery at IGMC is comparable to any leading centre in the country including AIIMS, New Delhi. This has been made possible due to the help and guidance of the higher authorities, the administration, the able leadership of Prof. R.Pathania and the dedication of the Doctors, Perfusionists, Technicians and Staff Nurses working in this field. Dr. Rajnish Pathania and cardiothoracic surgical team was awarded Himachal Civil Sewa Award by the Govt. of H.P. for the year 2010 for their contribution in the field of Open Heart Surgery in Himachal Pradesh.

The department has crossed another milestone in September 2011 by starting superspeciality M.Ch. CTVS course and two students has been admitted in the current session.


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