Indian stents make inroads as Angioplasty completes 30 years

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Panaji, Dec 17 (UNI) Indian stents have become popular these days even as the procedure of angioplasty, invented by German physician Dr Andreas Gruentzig for treating blocked arteries of heart patients, has completed 30 years.

''When the procedure was invented in September 1977, the medical fraternity treated Dr Gruentzig as a madcap. Almost a half of the patients, who had undergone the balloon procedure that year, were forced to have a repeat of it within six months,'' according to Apollo Victor Hospital Cardiovascular Sciences Director Dr Uday B Khanolkar.

Interacting with mediapersons on completion of three decades of angioplasty, he said, subsequent technological developments have ensured reduction in restenosis cases to 22 per cent with the introduction of ''stent'' technology that keeps the blocked artery in its original form within its wall.

Introduction of ''drug eluting stents'' has resulted in further reduction in restenosis cases to three per cent now. Efforts are now underway to make it nil with the introduction of new technology stents, which do not use biostatic polymer coating on the device.

One such stent named ''Pronova XR'' designed and developed by a Bangalore-based company, Vascular Conception, will be released in India on January 15 next as against its earlier version of ''pronova stent'' with polymer coating.

The first angioplasty was performed in India in 1985 and in Goa in February 2004 at Apollo Victor Hospital by Dr Khanolkar himself.

He is credited with performing more than 15,000 cardiac interventional procedures since 1986, after he was trained in the procedure at KEM hospital, Mumbai and Royal Brompton Hospital, London.

The use of stents for heart patients has been on rise ever since it was introduced in the country. There was 60 per cent rise in the use of stents in 2005 as against 32,000 patients in the year 2002.

The use of drug eluting stents had also been significantly on rise, he added.

With the procedure coming under the mediclaim cover, it has become very popular as the beneficiary gets Rs 1.5 lakh state subsidy under the scheme.

The cost of foreign stent is about Rs 1.5 lakh whereas the Indian stent costs just Rs 50,000. The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) had also passed on a technology to develop stents in a corporate hospital but did not follow it up.

At the same time, a private company came out with the drug eluting stent without using the biostatic polymer coating on the device.

In this connection, Dr Khanolkar cautioned the people against smoking, use of repeatedly heated oils, unchecked diabetes and passive lifestyles besides excessive use of oral contraceptives to prevent heart ailments.

The Asiatic race is prone to develop at 12 to 15 per cent growth per annum particularly among the people under productive age group of 30 to 60 years, he added.


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