NATION

Heart International Saved My Life: Prasad

Local operation saved him thousands of dollars, he adds. Mahendra Prasad never dreamt that one could be treated here for blocked heart arteries. He also never dreamt that six hours
10 Mar 2018 11:00
Heart International Saved My Life: Prasad
Heart International’s team (from left), Dr Ali Khan, Aleem Shah, Jonathan Shaw, Dr Seif El-Jack, and Dr Parma Nand

Local operation saved him thousands of dollars, he adds.

Mahendra Prasad never dreamt that one could be treated here for blocked heart arteries.

He also never dreamt that six hours after receiving stenting treatment to remove the blockages, without having to endure an open-heart/bypass surgery, he would walk out the door with a new lease of life.

The 67-year-old cane farmer from Drasa, Lautoka, was shattered at first when he learned that many of his arteries were blocked.

But that all changed when he re­ceived treatment at the Heart Inter­national in Namaka, Nadi.

This is his story of how a proce­dure, so delicate and modern and yet so simple could be carried out here in Fiji.

Mr Prasad’s story is testament enough to encourage Fijians who suffer from heart problems to visit the Heart International and get treatment in a world class facility.

It would not be so draining on pockets compared to overseas trav­el for a bypass operation.

The cost would be less than one-third the cost of having similar stent procedures in Australia or New Zealand.

Mr Prasad worked at a service sta­tion in his younger days for about 18 years before exchanging the fuel hose for a plough.

“I eventually bought a cane farm and left the job at the service sta­tion,” he said.

“I worked very hard looking after three cane farms and this included driving for eight years. I used to walk a lot before.

“However about four years ago I started feeling some pain in my chest and was short of breath when I used to walk for just half a mile.

“Last year it got very bad – I could not walk fast or a long way. My son came and said they wanted me to get a check up.”

Mr Prasad then had an angiogram at another institution.

“I was told that I needed to go overseas to have a bypass operation done,” he said.

There were questions about how successful the bypass would be for the specific state of his blockages.

Mr Prasad said he had no idea about the expenses he was up against because he did not know the charges of surgery in India.

“When we got the report my neph­ew, Anil Chandra, suggested we get a second opinion,” he said.

It was during this time when the family was discussing their options that Heart International Managing Director and renowned New Zea­land Interventional Cardiologist Dr Seif El-Jack was in Fiji doing his regular operations.

“We sat with Dr El-Jack and for about 45 minutes; he explained to us about the heart and everything to do with it,” he said.

Dr El-Jack gave him three options – a bypass operation, a stent proce­dure or go on medication.

“He told me there were too many blockages of arteries around my heart” and although a bypass sur­gery was an option, the doctor said it may not result in a complete fix for these blockages,” Mr Prasad said.

Dr El-Jack also informed Mr Prasad that the blockages could be cleared by complex stenting.

Mr Prasad, after hearing the de­tails explained by Dr El-Jack, said “why get a heart operation done when you don’t need one.”

The stenting was done at Heart International in Nadi, with Mr Prasad fully awake during the pro­cedure.

The procedure is painless and is done through a small tube inserted into a blood vessel in the wrist and working its way backwards into the heart.

The blockage is first cleared or re­duced with a small balloon pushing it out of the way, followed by place­ment of a “stent”.

A stent is a small mesh-tube (or “metal coil”) acting like scaffolding that keeps the blood vessel open. Patients are able to walk off the ta­ble afterwards and go home within 4-6 hours.

Mr Prasad said plans were already in place for him to travel to India before he met Dr El-Jack and think­ing back now he would have spent thousands of dollars through oper­ation, air fares and other expenses.

“I have never regretted the deci­sion to have this procedure done at Heart International,” he said.

He believes he had made the right choice.

“From the first day I walked in, through the consultations right up to carrying out the stent procedure is something I would always be thankful for,” he said.

“Everyone at Heart International has been so supportive and friendly which I appreciate very much.

“It is amazing because you are awake during the whole proce­dure and actually can watch on the screen everything that is being done inside to your heart.

“Now and again the doctor would ask me how was I doing and we would converse during this whole procedure.”

Mr Prasad said the entire pro­cedure took at least two hours to perform and he spent another six hours in a recovery room before walking out and returning home.

“Now I have seen and learnt about blocked arteries. My advice to all those who have heart problems or think you may have it, please visit Heart International in Nadi be­cause you would get the best advice, be treated by some of the best cardi­ologists in the world and on top of that you would be spending much less money than travelling overseas for a heart operation or even stent­ing,” he said.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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