Doctors seek cover for heart transplants

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Doctors are hoping the State government will soon cover heart transplants under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.

At the launch of the Fortis Centre for Heart Failure and Transplant recently, K.R. Balakrishnan, director of cardiac sciences, said they had made a representation to the government to include heart transplants in the scheme. It covers only liver transplants now.

“Heart transplants are expensive, costing Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 15 lakh. However, more than the procedure itself, the immuno-suppression drugs and regular laboratory tests cost a lot,” he said.

Dr. Balakrishnan said they had met the health secretary three times with regard to this issue. “With the model code of conduct in place, we are hoping this will be worked out in two to three months,” he said.

Over the past 18 months, the cardiac transplant team at Fortis Malar has performed 16 transplants.

The new centre will provide comprehensive treatment for heart failure, medical management, cardio pulmonary testing, extra corporeal membrane oxygenation, heart transplants for all age groups, ventricular assist device (artificial heart pump) and cardiac rehabilitation, according to Suresh Rao K.G., chief of the cardiac anaesthesia and critical care.

Dr. Balakrishnan said the centre has set up a library with a database of muscles analysed. They are undertaking genetic studies and genome sequencing of every muscle to determine the various causes of heart failures.


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