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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
Outlook.com

A Heartbeep Away

Telemedicine promises to revolutionise cardiac care in India

A Heartbeep Away
A Heartbeep Away
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

WHENa 46-year old industrialist was admitted to Delhi's Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre (EHIRC), on May 6, he couldn't have imagined that he would be attending his son's graduation in England the following week while EHIRC cardiologists monitored his ECG from the capital, as many times a day as he wished it, and gave him instant medical advice over the phone.

Following an angioplasty, the industrialist was discharged on May 12 and flew out the next evening, as scheduled, armed with a 'Heart Alert' beeper—a device no bigger than a pocket transistor with which to record his ECG in about 50 seconds, dial the EHIRC hotline in Delhi and play it back into a computer which records it with pin-point accuracy and simultaneously displays it on screen for the cardiologist on duty at the Heart Command Centre. When he called the hotline, on May 16, from London's Heathrow airport to ask if he was fit to proceed to the US, consultant cardiologist H.S. Rissam, with the tap of a key, recalled his past ECGs and medical history and wished him Bon Voyage .

Two decades after it was introduced in the West, where it is still offered only by select hospitals, Cardiac Telemedicine has found a firm footing in India. Last week, EHIRC formally launched its 'commando-style' Mission Save Heart, making it, officially, the second hospital to offer state-of-the-art telemedicine facility after Apollo Hospitals which introduced its Heartline service last July in its Madras and Hyderabad branches and at the brand new Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi, in January this year. Operational round the clock, 365 days a year, both leading hospitals' objectives are identical: to reach expert cardiac care to patients within the first 'golden hour' from the onset of the heart attack so as to minimise damage to heart...

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