New lease of life for woman with genetic heart disease

Doctors of Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre (MMHRC) successfully treated a 34-year-old woman with a genetic heart disease by deploying a novel method of Alcohol Septal Ablation (ASA), which is about chemically inducing a localised heart attack.

A press release from the hospital said the procedure was performed by a team of doctors led by cardiologist Sivakumar. The patient had inherited a heart disease known as Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy in which the heart muscles become abnormally thick.

Dr. Sivakumar said that ASA is a minimally invasive alternative to surgical procedures. It is effective in reducing the size of an overgrown heart muscle. The desired result is achieved by injecting pure or absolute alcohol directly into the overgrown heart muscle. The injected alcohol creates a localised heart attack. Since the alcohol is toxic to heart cells, it kills them, and thus, reduces the size of the bulge. Without the bulge, blood flow from the heart improves, he said.

The patient became symptomatically better and got discharged a couple of days after the procedure.

This procedure is cost effective and avoids an open heart surgery that would have left a permanent scar. Even though this procedure has been tried a couple of times earlier in MMHRC, this is the first time a patient is completely cured of a genetically inherited disease by a small dose of absolute alcohol, according to the release.

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