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Mumbai’s KEM Gets Second Cath Lab to Treat Heart Patients

In order to reduce the waiting list of patients seeking cardiac care, KEM Hospital in Parel has acquired a second cardiac catherization laboratory or cath lab. Cath labs are special sanitized hospital rooms where cardiologists perform minimally invasive tests (angiography to detect the extent of blockages in blood vessels) and procedures (angioplasty to place stents to remove the blockages) to treat various heart diseases. Procedures like placing pacemakers or other implantable devices are also conducted in cath labs. The new cath lab at KEM, the leading BMC-run teaching hospital, was inaugurated on Saturday and should be functional as soon as fumigation and certain permissions are available. At present, patients who do not need emergency procedures are being given dates a month or 45 days later. “We conduct 10 to 15 procedures a day at the existing cath lab,” said head of cardiology Dr P Kerkar.

With the new cath lab, not only can the number of procedures done at KEM increase but doctors would also be able to perform more elective or planned procedures on patients. BMC officials said plans were afoot to further upgrade KEM’s cardiology department so that it soon starts performing primary angioplasty, which is considered the best treatment for a person who has just suffered a heart attack. As angioplasty or stenting is done within six hours of a heart attack, the damage to the heart muscles is controlled. However, primary angioplasty procedures need cath labs that work round the clock, with doctors, nurses and paramedical staff being available as soon as a patient is brought in. It will take a few months to rope in extra staffers after training, said a source. KEM Hospital’s acting dean Dr R Satoskar said the new cath lab has an additional feature to control infection. “The walls have cladding (an extra layer over the walls) to reduce microbial presence,” he said. Only a few operation theaters in BMC’s KEM and Sion Hospitals have cladding at present. – TOI

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