First clinic in country dedicated for Fontan patients opens in Kerala

| | New Delhi
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First clinic in country dedicated for Fontan patients opens in Kerala

Thursday, 06 October 2022 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

Adult patients or kids who have undergone Fontan procedure — a type of heart surgery which reduces the mixing of deoxygenated and oxygenated   can now look forward to holistic management of their complex health condition.

An exclusive first-of-its kind clinic in India’s Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala was recently inaugurated by Dr Sanjay Behari, Director, at Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) for comprehensive management of the congenital heart diseases.

The Fontan procedure which also  reduces the work of the heart and provides a better oxygen supply to the body, is a milestone in the palliation of children born with complex univentricular heart diseases 90 per cent of who would not have survived beyond their first birthday without intervention.

This operation occurs at approximately 1 1/2 to 3 years of age. As a centre for comprehensive rehabilitation and follow-up of children and adults who have undergone Fontan surgery, the clinic will help implementation of measures to improve quality of life of these patients by timely consideration for additional investigations as required, including advanced imaging and cardiac catheterization.

It will also involve holistic care for these patients by involving all divisions of Cardiology, the departments of Cardiac Surgery, Cardiac Anesthesiology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialists, Vascular surgery from SCTIMST, and Respiratory Medicine, Nephrology, Gastroenterology and Endocrinology consultants whenever required.

This is because, while the ideal Fontan circulation does very well for long, it is not unusual for other organ systems like the liver, kidney, lungs and the gut to present with issues with the newly fashioned circulation.

Therefore, it is important for patients to be followed up regularly by a Cardiologist and other specialists to find any problems early, when treatment is most effective. Dr Neeraj Pandit, Professor & Head, Department of Cardiology, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, Tahirpur, Delhi Government welcomed the initiative saying, that as survival rate is very less in such cases, regular surveillance in infancy and early childhood is important to minimize risk factors.

The child may need a customized series of diagnostic tests between the planned stages of surgery, and throughout childhood, he explained.

 The SCTIMST institute has over 200 patients who have undergone all stages of univentricular palliation, and the number is ever increasing.

A registry of patients with univentricular congenital heart diseases who have undergone Fontan completion will also be formed. The clinic shall also serve as a portal for second opinion and consultations to other providers, said the doctors from the SCTIMST.

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