As heart diseases rise, data reveals shortage of cardiologists in India; a reality check

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New Delhi | Updated: April 9, 2018 9:23:08 AM

Diabetes and hypertension menace, which lead to heart-related diseases, have become a common menace in India. It has been learnt that even as cardiovascular diseases are rising, the country could witness a shortage of cardiologists. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had talked about Diabetes during his monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat”.

heart attack diseasesLast year 552 seats remained vacant out of the 1,907 superspeciality medical seats for which admissions were completed.

Diabetes and hypertension menace, which lead to heart-related diseases, have become a common menace in India. It has been learnt that even as cardiovascular diseases are rising, the country could witness a shortage of cardiologists. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had talked about Diabetes during his monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat”. While the central government is serious about controlling the disease, the shortage of cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons is major area of concern.

Last year 552 seats remained vacant out of the 1,907 superspeciality medical seats for which admissions were completed. Out of those 552 vacant seats, 55 were in cardiology and 104 were in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. Notably, for the first time, a common entrance examination, NEET SS, was conducted for masters in surgery and doctorate courses last year. After the test, centralised counseling. was also held.

Professor and HoD, Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, AIIMS Dr Shiv Choudhary said, “cardiothoracic and vascular surgery (CTVS) is not the speciality of choice, it has a long incubation period. While a urologist may be ready to practise on his own at 30 years, for CTVS where the training is long and hard, it could be 45 years. The average work day for a resident could be 18-20 hours. There are very few well equipped centres because it is both expensive and manpower-intensive to run a CTVS Centre. What is more, after such a long and arduous training, a CTVS surgeon would probably get Rs 20,000 per surgery while a gastrointestinal surgeon would make Rs 50,000 from a gall bladder surgery.”

Choudhary said that the country requires about 8,500 CTVS against the current 1,200-1,500 doctors. “There are just 48 centres training doctors in CTVS. Some years ago, while I was part of a UPSC board that needed to choose 22 surgeons for government postings, I chose all six who appeared for the interview from the 14 applicants. In the end, just two joined,” he said.

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