At SKIMS, SMHS, heart labs closed after OPD hours for lack of staff

TNN Bureau. Updated: 12/29/2017 12:27:39 PM

Srinagar, Dec 29: Cath labs at Kashmir’s tertiary care hospitals, which are vital for saving lives of heart attack patients, are closed down after OPD hours because of the shortage of the staff needed.
A doctor explained how heart attack patients are treated at the SMHS Hospital and Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS).

“If a patient with heart attack reaches these hospitals in the day, chances are that cardiologists would administer primary angioplasty which is the preferred intervention for heart attack cases the world over,” said a doctor.
“However, after OPD hours, the patients are given the same treatment as is available in peripheral hospitals, which is thrombolysis,” he added.
Despite the availability of high-end equipments and specialised manpower, tertiary care hospitals in Kashmir fare no better that peripheral centres in management of heart attacks during late hours.

Due to lack of technicians, the two heart labs at SMHS Hospital and three heart labs at SKIMS are closed down in evenings and nights, making thrombolysis the only procedure available for heart attack patients.
Leading cardiologists of Kashmir, while speaking to Greater Kashmir, said that international research studies have proven superiority and benefits of primary angioplasty, also called primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), over thrombolysis.
In Kashmir, the PCI facility is available only at the SMHS Hospital and SKIMS in the government sector.
“There is a consensus across the world that primary PCI, immediately after a myocardial infarction (heart attack), helps in reducing mortality and also reduces risk of heart disease and stroke in future,” a senior cardiologist at SKIMS said.
He added that patients, when brought to a tertiary care hospital within a short span must get PCI rather than thrombolysis, else “why should they be brought here for something that is available even in peripheral hospitals?”
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in J&K as per the recently released Health of the Nation’s States, a comprehensive report evaluating the state-wise trends of diseases and causes of death and disability. It accounts for 10.7 percent of all deaths, and over 36 percent of deaths in the 40 plus age group.
As per a doctor, in a single night, on an average, at least six heart attack patients are brought to the SMHS Hospital, while at SKIMS, the number is more or less the same. He said that heart labs are locked up at the SMHS after 4pm and after 6pm at the SKIMS every day.
A source said that at the SMHS Hospital, there are two cath lab technicians, and one cardio technician.
“All three technicians are required at any given point of time to run the lab and the same technicians cannot be expected to work after 4pm,” the source said.
At SKIMS, there are seven technicians but their services are not available after OPD hours as they operate two cath labs and one pace maker lab of the institute during the day.
“One technician is on night duty but due to lack of support staff rarely any primary PCI is carried out at the institute,” a source said.
The principal Government Medical College, Srinagar, said, “The department of cardiology is actually to be located at the Super Specialty (hospital) and all staff recruitment is for that hospital.”
She added that “very soon” the cardiology department would be shifted to the Super Specialty Hospital, which would “ensure better facilities”.

Comment on this Story