Imaging the heart, i.e. taking x-rays of the heart by digital imaging of the heart for understanding the pathology, is an important diagnostic technique which doctors do in the modern digital age. Digital photograph, digital video and taking dye pictures in cell phone have become a very common day to day affair in our life.

The same digital technology and jet turbine technology have been combined to acquire images of the heart.

Using CT scan as a basic diagnostic x-ray unit, the gantry with 128 slice detector, revolves around the patient’s chest.

When an opaque die is injected into the vein, when it reaches the heart, the blood vessels of the heart are visualized and images are transferred to the digital computer.

A powerful computer demonstrates the status of the blood vessels (coronary arteries), which supply blood to the muscles of the heart (endocardium).

Heart attack is becoming endemic and epidemic in India.

The largest percentage of diabetics are living in India; 50% diabetics develop heart attack during the first ten years after detection of diabetes.

To prevent a sudden death because of the heart attack, the American Diabetes Association and American Cardiological Society advocate 128 slice heart CT scan as a part of master health check up to detect whether a particular person is a vulnerable person to develop a heart attack in the next one year.

A symposium was held under the aegis of KG Hospital & Post Graduate Medical Institute, Coimbatore, on 17th January, 2015, where 135 delegates took part to discuss about the use of this new technology, i.e. 128 slice cardiac CT scan and cardiac MRI, to help the physician to make critical decisions about the further course of action for a patient with chest pain.

Dr. Johann Christopher, Cardiologist from CARE Hospital, Hyderabad, Dr. B.M. Mahesh, Chief Radiologist, Vikram Hospital, Mysore, Dr. Geetha, Radiologist from JSS Hospital, Mysore, Dr. Kapisoor Singh, Cardiac Radiologist of KG Hospital, Dr. S.K. Varma, Cardiothoracic Surgeon of KG Hospital, and Dr. Y.Y. Rao, Interventional Cardiologist of KG Hospital, shared their experience and took active part in the discussions.

KG Hospital has conducted 6,000 such cardiac imaging tests, which is the second of its kind in India.

This technology will prevent a premature morbidity and mortality of a susceptible person who suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and who is a chronic smoker and an obese individual.

KG Hospital proposes to submit a project to the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Department of Science & Technology to conduct this test among the underprivileged sectors of the society to find out the incidence and prevalence of a potential threat in such a vulnerable population.

Smokers are at high risk for coronary artery disease. Presently, the investigation cost is Rs.14,000/-. Dr. G. Bakthavathsalam, Chairman, KG Hospital, proposes to get research funding from the above departments to make it at Rs.4,000/- for the common man.

Once the diagnosis is made, preventive measures and lifestyle modifications can easily be advised and looking at the picture of his own heart, one is likely to change his mindset to live for long number of years, because his life is ‘precious’ to his family.

In India, seven crores people will develop heart attack in the next five years and two crores are at high risk.

Dr. A. Muruganathan, former President of Association of Physicians of India, presided over the symposium.

Dr. Issac Moses, Professor of Medicine, Coimbatore Medical College and President of Association of Physicians of India, Coimbatore, was the Guest of Honour.

(Dr. G. Bakthavathsalam)

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