OVER the past five years, Neelam Sodhi, 50, a resident of Chattarpur, has been cherishing every moment she lives. An optimist by nature, Neelam claimed she went into depression and had suicidal thoughts owing to her heart complications. Sodhi suffered from chronic breathing problems about six years ago and had also suffered a cardiac arrest. A pacemaker and medication did little to improve her condition. "I was on a ventilator for some days and felt that my life had come to an end, but then the doctors at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket suggested me to go for an artificial heart LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device). Since then, every day has been a blessing. From almost dying, I am now living my life to the fullest. There are of course certain issues related to an artificial heart but those are minor problems," she said. Max Hospital, where doctors have been using LVAD in patients claim that the device is considered as "bridge to a transplant" and proved to be "destination therapy" which increases life expectancy by 13-15 years. Like Neelam, there are others, who were among the first recipients of an LVAD in the city five years ago. These patients have no heartbeat, pulse or measurable blood pressure, but continue to lead a normal life. "LVAD boosts functions of the heart and is used either as a temporary measure till a heart transplant can be conducted, or as a destination therapy where the patient lives with the device permanently as they are unfit for a heart transplant. LVAD enables patients to live a normal life even after end-stage heart failure," said Dr Kewal Krishan, Director, Heart Transplant & Ventricular Assist Devices, Dept. of Cardiovascular Surgery, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket. "We have conducted over a dozen LVAD implants till now at Max Hospital, Saket, ranging from a seven-year-old girl to an 81-year-old female patient," he added.
Artificial hearts provide patients new lease of life
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