Modern Life savers

It’s the dream of almost every parent to see their child as a doctor; and today, students can see why. As India’s population urges, there’s a huge leap in the number of people afflicted with chronic and acute diseases and / or in need of emergency care. Health issues that come with longer life spans also multiply. No wonder then that qualified health professionals are in great demand.

The recently formed Global Alliances for Chronic Diseases, in its inaugural summit in New Delhi, declared that heart diseases, chronic respiratory conditions, cancer, and diabetes are the four biggest killers leading to loss of life (388 million people) and loss of foregone national income (India, China and the UK are set to lose $ 558 billion and $ 33 billion respectively) all over the next ten years.

Heart of the matter:

Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery>>

Heart ailments claim the maximum number of lives in India and across the world. In fact, according to a report by an international group, by 2010, 60 per cent of heart diseases patients will be from India. It doesn’t end here. Studies have proved that a genetic mutation affecting four per cent of Indians and one per cent of people worldwide is responsible for the creation of a protein that almost certainly guarantees heart ailments. Add to that the growing number of young professionals who love fast food and have little time for physical activity and you’ll begin to see why health experts believe we’re sitting on a time bomb.

Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons work to prevent, diagnose and treat heart diseases. Cardiologists are physicians who use non-operative measures to treat diseases. Cardiology can be categorized into two broad subsets: Invasive cardiology. Non-invasive cardiology is suitable for those who prefer fixed working hours, because this field primarily deals with non-emergency, elective procedures like echo cardiograms, treadmill testing, 24 hour ambulatory hotter monitoring for blood pressure recording and EECP.

However, if you’re considering a career in invasive cardiology be prepared for extremely demanding work hours. Cardiologists work 12 to 14 hours per day, and it is not uncommon to have to attend to patient in the middle of the night. Cardiology comprises methods like angioplasty/angiography which imply minimally invasive vascular intervention. Other cardio specialties include electrophysiology (electrical properties of biological cells in the heart), pediatric cardiology and adult pediatric cardiology (adults who were treated for heart problems as children).

Not to be confused with cardiologists cardiac surgeons are trained in a surgical specialty and perform surgical procedures on the heart or its blood vessels in the case of heart transplants, or to treat congenital, valvular or ischemic heart diseases. The life of a cardiac surgeon is even more demanding than that of a cardiologists clocking between 16 to 18 hours. Unless an individual is completely committed, he shouldn’t get into cardiac surgery. It takes a minimum of eight to 10 years to become a surgeon. However, while the monetary gains may be better in other fields like ophthalmology and orthopaedics, this is one branch where satisfaction is immense. You are treating a dying patient, and five days later, he is leaving the hospital, on the road to recovery.

After completion of the 5.5 year MBBS (inclusive of one year compulsory internship) a student must decide whether to pursue an MD in Internal medicine (to pursue cardiology later) or MS in General Surgery (to pursue cardiac surgery later) Both these courses are of three years duration, and are followed by a DM in Cardiology or an MCh in cardiac Surgery, of three years respectively.