CHENNAI: Frontier Lifeline, a Chennai-based heart hospital has tied up with Russian scientists to manufacture a low-cost mechanical heart pump that can serve as an alternative to a transplant or as a temporary measure before transplant.
The ‘Made in India’ device will be available at one-third the cost of existing devices 30 lakh as against 90 lakh said senior cardiac surgeon Dr KM Cherian. The device, called Left Ventricular Assisted Device (LVAD), can be surgically implanted to help the heart pump more blood with less work. It takes blood from the left ventricle and moves it to the aorta, which then delivers oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. The total cost of the two imported brands – from the US and Germany – including the surgery typically crosses 1.25 crore
“In the North American region, more than one lakh people have been using the device. The need is large in India but many patients die because they can’t use this expensive device. We can’t afford to have a backup if one device fails because the cost of the backup should be borne either by the patient or the hospital. In most cases, neither can afford,” he said. “This will change when we make this device in India,” he said.
With a memorandum of understanding with the Russian manufacturers, the device called Sputnik, will be manufactured at Mediville, the SEZ Medical Science Park of Frontier Lifeline Hospitals on the outskirts of Chennai. On May 23, Dr Cherian signed the MoU with the Russian manufacturers in the presence of Indian space scientist A Sivathanu Pillai.
India will be the first Asian country and the third in the world to manufacture LVADs, after US and Germany, he said. “We will be making a state-of-the-art device at a lower cost to make it affordable,” Dr Cherian said. Patients waiting for a heart on the transplant list can use this device until they get a suitable donor. Now patients have to wait for up to eight months. “For people who are not fit for transplant, this device can be a permanent fixture,” he said.
Decks have been cleared for pre-clinical animal studies . “We will be testing the device on large animals including Beagles imported from the UK and then go for clinical trials,” Dr Cherian said.