35,000 dialysis machines, it has only 1,000
It is a country where an estimated 20 lakh suffer
kidney afflictions every year. Of which, 10% are put on dialysis or
need to have their kidney transplanted. And, the numbers, according
to nephrologists, are alarmingly doubling at the turn of each year.
Forty percent of birth defects in children are kidney related.
It is a nation, whose healthcare centers put
togther could be barely equipped with 1,000 dialysis machines, when
at least 35,000 are required to tackle what can be described as a
frightening scourge. In Kolkata alone, around 13,000 people are
rushed to clinics and hospitals with rundown kidneys yearly and,
of them, normally over a 1,000 are critical patients.
"Sadly, even those in dire need of a transplant wait in a
queue. The government’s Organ Transplant Act of 1994 has banned
doctors other than relatives of a patient from donating kidneys.
Other than that, kidneys can be sourced from cadaver (brain dead)
cases. In such a scenario, the demand for kidney replacements far
outstrips availability of this life-saving organ", Dr. P
Ravichandran, nephrologist and kidney surgeon, told ET.
"If the government enacted the Act, it
should ensure that the country has enough dialysis machines to keep
the patients alive till they get a kidney", he added. Dr.
Ravichandran heads the Institute of Kidney Disease & Organ
Transplant at the Madras Institute of Orthopaedic & Traumatology
The situation looks woeful when compared with western countries
or southeast regions like Singapore or Malaysia. With treatment
costs involvint dialysis and medicines ranging anywhere between
Rs.20,000 and Rs.25,000 monthly here, most critical kidney patients
are compelled to throw in the towel after 1-2 years.
"In Singapore, Malaysia or the West, even
dialysis patients lead normal lives and survive 10 to 20 years. This
is largely because of government funded schemes and insurance cover.
Singapore is smaller than Chennai. Yet, it has 38 dialyais
centers each armed with 32 machines," Dr. Ravichandran
said. ‘Delinked centres’ could be one way of countering this
predicament, according to him. A dialysis entails half the cost at a
delinked center because it is not saddled with a hospital’s or
clinic’s extraneous overheads.
(Ref: The Economic Times, Ahmedabad, June 4,
Chitra Institute to
develop heart valves, blood vessels and muscle strengthener
Shree Chitra Thirunal Institute of Medical
Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvanathapuram, is working on
developing artificial blood vessels, gicuspid valves and cardiac
muscle strengtheners for use in cardiac surgery. Though the
Institute sources declined to give more details about these new
products, it is learnt that the artificial cardiac parts will be
made of specialised alloys.
SCTIMST, the premier institute of Kerala in the
field of cardiac treatment and research, had recently developed
Chitra heart Prosthesis that has been marketed by the Chennai-based
TTK Healthcare Ltd.
It is learnt that this is for the first time in
Asia, that an Institute is developing an artificial blood vessel and
a cardiac muscle strengthener. It may be mentioned that the Russian
scientists had been working on developing an artificial blood
vessel, a project that was abandoned when the erstwhile Soviet Union
split. The project was almost nearing a possible development when it
The artificial blood vessel, it is learnt is
being developed using a specialised synthetic material that has both
the flexibility and elasticity. Even though, the composition of the
synthetic material was not divulged by the sources, they said that
it was being developed in association with two private research
institutes and a defence research establishment.
"This artificial blood vessel will find use
in case of coronary bypass and other ailments of blood vessels. It
can, not only be used as a replacement, but also can be joined among
with the normal blood vessel. We are currently working on the fusion
of the artificial and the natural blood vessels," the sources
The biscuspid valuve will be another product in
the valve range being developed by the institute. The earlier one
– Chitra valve, is now available in the market, which is currently
known as Chitra TTK valve.
The Chitra-TTK valve is a tilting disc valve design incorporating
a metallic housing, which is integrally machined from a cobalt-based
alloy. The circular disc inside is made of ultra high molecular
weight polyethylene and a polyester suture ring provided for
stitching it into the muscles of the heart. The product was
developed after almost a decade of research initiated in 1992 by a
team led by Prof. Vallianathan, the then director of the institute.
The cardiac muscle strengthener is also the first of its kind
undertaken by any research institute in Asia. The product, according
to the sources, will be implanted in patients who have weaker or
fibrous cardiac muscles that lead to myocardiac failure.
However, the sources claim that the Institute
would be able to finalise the development process, and likely to be
commercialised by 2003. Shree Chitra Institute was first in the
country to successfully develop and commercialise the Heart
Prosthesis using indigenous technology. The product is said to have
even surpassed the performance of imported artificial valves.
[Ref: Chronicle Pharmabiz, May 24, 2001]