In observance of World Vascular Surgery Day on 6th August, Dr Sekar Foundation and Kauvery Hospital Alwarpet is raising awareness towards “Amputation Free Tamil Nadu’.
Globally every minute someone is getting a major amputation done and the most common causes for amputation are injury and diabetes. India is the diabetic capital of the world and it is estimated that there are 101 million diabetics in India out of which 6-7 % of them develop vascular complications.
Moreover the average life expectancy for Indians has improved and the aging population has increased. Age, Diabetes and smoking are the three most important causes for arterial blocks to develop. Fatty material and calcium get deposited on the wall of the artery just like soot deposits in the chimney. This narrows the artery and the blood flow gets reduced and may get totally blocked. If the artery to the heart (Coronary) gets blocked, the patient gets a heart attack. When the same occurs in the leg the patient gets gangrene and in the brain the patient develops stroke.
“Awareness about vascular diseases is significantly low and many limbs are lost because of minor surgery on diabetic patients without checking for the vascularity of the foot. At every forum we have been telling all the doctors that no foot surgery should be done on diabetic patients without making sure that the blood supply of the limb is adequate,” says Dr N Sekar, Chief Vascular Surgeon at Kauvery Hospital Main, Alwarpet also a Pioneer in Vascular Surgery in India.
85% of Leg Amputation is preceded by a leg ulcer and every diabetic patient gets the fear of amputation as soon as an ulcer develops in the foot. “If the correct diagnosis is made at that time and proper treatment is given, amputation can be avoided. Moreover 30% of those who lose one leg develop similar disease in the other leg within one year. Hence it is very important that every effort should be made to avoid amputation. Similarly, majority of the ischemic strokes due to block in the brain circulation are preceded by a minor warning stroke (Transient ischemic attack). If the correct diagnosis is given then this block can be removed and a major stroke can be prevented,” adds Dr N Sekar.
In India there are about 350 vascular surgeons for a population of 140 crores. Only about 20 medical colleges in India have separate vascular surgery departments and majority of them are in Tamil Nadu. This is one of the key factors for high rates of amputations in many states across the country. Since the Speciality of Vascular Surgery is still in the developing phase, it has definitely expanded to a certain extent, and there is still a long way to go in terms of practice and awareness.
Over 150 to 200 limbs are being saved every year in the last 35 years which includes both open and endovascular surgeries. This has been made possible under the visionary and expertise of Dr N Sekar.
Speaking on the occasion Thiru Gagandeep Singh Bedi, IAS, Principal Secretary Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu said:
“The main cause of Leg ulcers or gangrenes which eventually leads to an amputation is Diabetes. Basic lifestyle modifications like exercise, diet and avoiding tobacco, can help prevent diseases like Diabetes and Hypertension. As part of the state government’s initiative we have already been taking measures in preventive medicine, where people who are diagnosed with diabetes or likely to develop diabetes are advised to visit a physician and take necessary precautions. However, negligence by individuals leads to more complications. The awareness on prevention and the immediate need to access a vascular specialist can help reduce the number of amputations being done. I congratulate Dr Sekar and Kauvery hospital for kick starting this noble initiative, which can impact lives significantly.”
“During COVID pandemic, blood vessel blocks leading to gangrene and amputation were one of the most common complications. The Department of Vascular Surgery under Dr Sekar’s leadership, a pioneer in Vascular Surgery , was working round the clock to clear the vessel blocks in over 100 patients thus preventing amputation. Kauvery hospital has been at the forefront in limb salvage and achieving “Amputation Free Tamil Nadu”.
We are also the only private hospital approved by the National board to conduct a super speciality training course in Vascular surgery in Tamil Nadu. We also strive to create this awareness among the public, thereby reaching a wider population, where limbs can be saved and people can lead a better quality of life,” says Dr Aravindan Selvaraj, Co Founder and Executive Director Kauvery Hospitals.