Your heart can heal at any age

Malathi SN, (94), was rushed to Apollo Hospital early this month after she complained of chest pain. She was in a state of cardiac shock and her blood pressure was falling rapidly. An angiogram revealed one fully blocked artery. Despite her age, the doctor decided to perform angioplasty. Malathi was otherwise a physically active woman, said her family. Angioplasty was successfully conducted and after an initial fragile phase of 48 hours, Malathi started showing signs of recovery. In fact, she was back to normal within just four days.

In today's hi-tech times, age is perhaps no bar to undergo a cardiac treatment. People in the 80-90 age bracket are opting for angioplasty and going back to live a healthy life, say cardiologists. Every year, heart surgeons in the city get 5 to 6 patients in the age group of 80-85 who prefer to undergo angioplasty. Thanks to improved life span in India, patients as old as 90 are also opting for angioplasty, which, doctors say, is a far safer option than oral medication and complicated bypass surgeries.

Said Dr Venkatesh, interventional cardiologist , Fortis Hospital: "At old age, angioplasty is considered a safer option than bypass. Oral medication can be risky as it tends to increase bleeding and can lead to brain hemorrhage."

On the risk factor involved due to age, Dr B Ramesh, senior cardiologist, Apollo Hospital, said: "Old age shouldn't be the primary criteria or deciding factor for such surgeries. If the patient has timely access to doctors and medical facilities , one can take calculated risks."

"More patients in the 40-60 age group prefer to undergo angioplasty or other types of heart surgeries. There is greater awareness about living a healthy life even at old age. At least 5% of our patients are 80 years old or above, yet they prefer to angioplasty," said Dr Sanjay Mehrotra, senior consultant cardiologist, Narayana Hrudayalaya .

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