Govt proposes free treatment of heart, kidney for BPL persons

The government on Friday said treatment for heart, kidney and bone diseases is provided free of cost to all persons below poverty line (BPL) and at subsidised rates to others in government hospitals.

Replying to a supplementary in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government was making efforts to meet requirements as patients from all over the country come to Delhi for such treatments.

“We have started a two-pronged strategy – increasing the number of specialist and super-specialist doctors, and creating infrastructure,” he said.

“We are trying to upgrade both human resources and infrastructure simultaneously. This year 4,000 additional specialists and super specialists would be added,” he said adding that out of 8 proposed AIIMS-like institutions, six would be ready within next two years.

This would reduce burden on Delhi’s hospitals, he said.

The government has approved establishment of 8 AIIMS-like institutions with super-speciality facilities in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

On whether there was a proposal to equip hospitals with newly-developed Nano-sensor technology, Mr. Azad said, “There is no proposal with the Ministry to equip hospitals with Nano-sensor devices for diagnosis of heart diseases.”


Coming up

The U.S.-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) has invited applications for Fulbright, Nehru and other scholarships from Indian citizens residing in India. Download application and other details from the website

The DOEACC Centre, Calicut, will start postgraduate diploma courses in software technology, and information security and system administration on March 15 and 8 respectively.

Graduates in information technology, computer science or electronics as optional subjects, engineering degree holders, and candidates with Master’s degree in computer applications are eligible to apply.

Website: . Phone: 0495-2287178, 2287266.

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has invited applications for admission to its Master of Computer Applications course conducted at its campuses in Coimbatore, Amritapuri, Kochi and Mysore. The selection is based on an entrance examination to be held on May 9. Last date: March 31. Download applications and other details from the website .

Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, has invited applications for admission to its MBBS, BDS, B.Sc. (nursing) and BPT courses.

Applications and prospectus will be available up to April 30. The admission will be based on marks scored in the written test, which will be conducted on May 23. Website: .

The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has invited applications for admission to its various courses including integrated Ph.D., ME, M.Tech., M.Des., M.Sc. (engineering) and Ph.D. Last date: March 22. Web link: .

AIIMS, New Delhi, will conduct an all India level entrance test on June 1 for admission to its MBBS course.

Last date: march 15. Website:, .

KIIT Law School has invited online applications for its admission test KLSAT 2010. The courses that are being offered will include BA L.L.B. (five year), BBA L.L.B. (integrated programme), L.L.M. and Ph.D. Last date: March 31. Website: .

The Institute of Company Secretaries of India has invited applications for its examinations for company secretary executive and foundation courses. Website:

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, has invited applications for admission to its MBBS, BDS, B.Tech., B.Arch., MA, M.Sc. and M.Com. courses. For applications forms and other details visit .

Rules to rule your heart


HEART TALK: Always keep a check on the symptoms of heart disease

 The common stress test doesn’t tell the full story about your heart condition. Know what more needs to be done

This is a story worth listening to, more so if you have undergone a stress test on the treadmill to check your heart condition and have got a negative result. Senior cardiologist Dr. Balbir Singh of the Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi narrates, “This is about my professor at All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Some years ago, on feeling somewhat uncomfortable, the professor, a cardiologist, went for a stress test. Much to his relief, it turned out to be negative. But just two weeks after the test, he suffered a heart attack.”

Dr. Singh’s rationale is, “It ran in his family. So even if a stress test shows negative, you need to look at the symptoms too, such as your cholesterol level, your lifestyle, etc. and also whether there is a heart condition in the family.”

But five years after the American Heart Association established that stress tests may fail to identify irregularities of the heart in patients, and cardiologists worldwide are convinced the technique has serious limitations, few people here are aware of the limits of the test. Almost always, a negative stress test frees a patient of any fear of cardiac problems, and a positive result invariably triggers panic.

But Dr. Singh highlights, “A stress test can have false positive or false negative results.” He elaborates on when to worry: “A patient need not worry much about a negative stress test result only if he/she is asymptomatic — that is, if he/she shows no possible symptoms of a heart condition. But if they do, or have already had a heart attack, a negative stress test doesn’t mean they are safe. They still need to do an angiogram.”

This is particularly important in the case of women. “Many women, even after the ECG shows irregularities of the heart or otherwise, show negative during a stress test for non-specific causes. It is better to go for a stress echo.” During stress echo, a small prop is put on the patient while he/she runs on the treadmill to reap accurate results.

If an asymptomatic person shows the stress test as positive, he/she should ideally go for a stress echo or a stress thallin test before undergoing an angiogram straightaway to establish his/her heart condition. A stress thallin is a more expensive proposition but is far more accurate than a common stress test, as it uses radio-nuclear material.

For the layman, Dr. Singh explains how a stress test works. “A stress test puts the heart to stress as you start running on the treadmill. During the test, both blood pressure and heart rate go up, thus facilitating blood flow to the heart. But if there is an arterial blockage, then the blood flow will be less. But mind you, it picks up a blockage only if it is 75 per cent blocked.” However, an angiogram shows up even 55 per cent blockage of the artery.

If the stress test is not always accurate, why do doctors then ask patients to undergo one? He responds, “Like an ECG, it has its importance, particularly in asymptomatic persons. Also, since Indians are more prone to heart disease, we don’t recommend bypass surgery if the blockage is below 75 per cent.”

While a stress echo takes about an hour and costs Rs.4,000, a stress thallin test takes about five to six hours and is priced at Rs.8,000.