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History is rarely kind to the original heroes in the scientific world.The classical Blalock-Taussig shunt,(BT shunt) the term we heard for the first time in the early clinical years of MBBS .We know, it as a dramatic surgery (Palliative though) connecting subclavian artery to the pulmonary artery for the commonest congenital cyanotic heart disease -Tetralogy of Fallot.

Now, half a century later, came to know, there is a gripping story of an oppressed black hero behind this famous cardiac surgery. This post is all about the fascinating life of Vivien Thomas, a humble carpenter’s son from Nashville. While he dreamed to become a doctor, circumstances and fate had some thing different to offer .He could join only as helper in the wards of John Hopkins, Baltimore . His extraordinary hand skills were recognised by then surgeon Alfred Blalock and made him as an assistant in the Hopkins animal lab.He was working on a project to resuscitate traumatic shock victims then. Dr Helen Taussig who was a pediatric cardiologist was wondering whether Dr Blalock could offer some surgical cure for the sick blue babies under her care.

When Dr Blalock was brainstorming the problem , it was Thomas ,who created dog models of hypoxic circulation and helped create the concept and methodology of diverting blood from subclavian artery to pulmonary artery .He single handedly operated on nearly 200 dogs. He literally taught the chief surgeon Blalock the delicate vascular suture tricks .

Come October 24th 1944 , the first blue baby was operated , with Blalock Insisting Thomas to stand beside. History was created -first heart surgery in USA. Which later on became the most famous concept that gave a fresh lease of life to thousands of children with TOF.

Vivien thomas blalock tausig BTT shunt baltimore jhon hopkins gross. 2 jpg

It’s painfully emotional to watch the Vivien Thomas standing right behind Dr Blalock,guiding his boss anxiously,with his hands tied just because he is not a qualified doctor. The others in the team included Dr Denton Cooley and Helen Taussig.

No surprise, when this famous work was reported in the media, the entire cardiology community rejoiced as the news broke out over the globe .It was published in JAMA in 1945 (Blalock1945.pdf ) . Did you guess it , yes, the name Thomas was not to be found anywhere though. How can you expect it ? , after all , he is a black lab supervisor working with dogs !

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Thomas’ , work was never recognized for the next 30 years until a grand occasion (Lord made?) that happened in the Baltimore in 1971. His dream of becoming doctor became a moment of truth. Baltimore school,of medicine finally recognised his work and conferred a honorary doctor . Unfortunately Dr Blalock was no more by then to attend to his famous pupil.
Its 2020 , 80 years after the monumental surgery , the BT shunt has since been renamed as Blalock, Thomas ,Taussig shunt . A new exclusive center for congenital heart surgery in Baltimore has come up in their name. What a great end to this black man’s journey in troubled racial times.

Thanks to Hollywood minds who thought this story deserved to be made as movie. “Something Lord made” directed by Joseph Sargent. It was a gripping scientific roller coaster .No surprise it got so many awards including three Emmys.

Every physician,especially the cardiologists should watch this movie. I can vouch, the one and a half hours  you are going to spend will enrich  professionally  and Intellectually. Lucky to find this movie free on you tube.

The Remarkable Story of Vivien Thomas, the Black Man Who Helped Invent Heart Surgery

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The incidence of stroke during TAVI up to 5 % (minimum ). Stroke risk reduction during TAVI is a critical requirement that can be a deterrent against this wonderful Intervention.

Many devices are being considered

  1. EmbolX (Edwards life science)
  2. Emrella
  3. Sentinel (Claret medical)
  4. TriGaurd (Keystone)

1-s2.0-S1050173818300112-gr2

 

TriGaurd 3just got the approval from CE and appear promising. (REFLECT trial) It is inserted through the transfemoral route , deflects embolic material to descending aorta since it covers all the three branches of Arch.What happens to these deflected particles? Any bodys guess.

So , in my understanding it converts potential brain embolisation to peripheral microemboli , wh

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is triguard-3tavi-tavr.jpg

A nice descriptive animation .https://player.vimeo.com/video/232995629

While, these innovative aortic arch filters reduce the risk of periprocedural embolic stroke, please mind, TAVR patients continue to be at significant risk for stroke over a long period. This is due to other late causes like TAVR leaflet thrombosis, atrial fibrillation, arch atheromas, and bleeding due antiplatelet agents.

Reference

1.WienekeVlastra, JeroenVendrik,  Karel T.Koch et al Cerebral protection devices during transcatheter aortic valve implantation  Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine  Volume 28, Issue 6, August 2018, Pages 412-418

2.(REFLECT trial) 

 

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Can you guess how many drugs a busy physician on an average writes in their prescription in his office ?

Three ? , Five , Six ,  . . . . Nine,? There is no specific study available for this non-academic query. I have got stunned to see a maximum of 18 drugs in one prescription. So, it should be anything between  1 to 18. May be a mean around 6 or so (Make your own guesstimate)

There is strong evidence to suggest writing a drug prescription has become a (un)conditioned habit-forming act. My professor* used to say generally 2 to 3 drugs are sufficient for most of the common illnesses we encounter (Only in extraordinary situation one may need to go beyond this )

One evidence less estimate though a random observation  among  the physicians suggested the bottom half of any long list of drug prescription is redundant and it doesn’t really address the specific problem the patient is suffering. Meanwhile ,the concept of poly-pill is making drug compliance easier in many cardiovascular and diabetic diseases.

*William Osler

Final message

Number of drugs human body can handle simultaneously without any harm is  often an ignored chapter in the Principles of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics.

Let us mind the length of our prescriptions and ensure less harm to our beloved patients.

Related material

This was my old presentation made about polypharmacy in CHF :Perils and pearls

PDF format of the presentation

 

 

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Its almost like playing a billiards game in absolute blindness.

It is not an unusual scenerio, to see the balloon catheter delicately bending at IAS puncture site , dodging and deflecting with random jerks as it tries to steal a entry in a few diastolic milliseconds time window when the fish mouthed mitral valve opens in sub square cm areas of MVO trembling in fast atrial fibrillation.

Agree ?

Gathered some tips to cross a difficult mitral valve during PTMC.

This is a PPT presentation taken from archive (Made in 2012)

Please pardon , it lacks audio.

PDF version : Prof SV PTMC mitral valve crossing

Final message

Often times Its noted we tend to struggle more at the mitral valve crossing than at IAS puncture during PTMC. Experience prevails over Image assistance. Assessment of LA size , IAS plane , and sub valvular disease seem to be critical. Probably the secret of success which I found out was , smart guys never hesitate to repeat IAS puncture site for optimal trajectory .Over the wire technique is not forbidden.

Unfortunately, TTE guidance is of little use to cross the mitral valve. Co-registration of fluro/3D TEE is promising , but most cardiologist continue to rely on their experience.

This always Intrigues me ! why we have abandoned retrograde crossing through the Aortic valve that avoids the dreaded IAS puncture. (Refer Dr V.K.Bahl AIIMS Newdelhi in a large series from Greece : Retrograde PTMC J Am Coll Cardiol 1998;32:1009–16)

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I don’t know whether you have seen this before. Surely , I haven’t seen a presentation such as this one.

Place: Annual scientific meet ASE 2013. Minneapolis

Presentor:Dr.Partho Sengupta, Mount Sinai hospital, New york.

Its a 3D presentation in “space” without a screen by Holography.

The stunning 15 minutes lecture take us into the myocardial architecture, with speckles , flow vortex echocardiography and fluid kinetic energy mapping.

Don’t miss, a dramatic live teleporting of ASE president on to the stage. 

 

Can you Imagine , where does this technology take us to the future ?

Patients may reach doctor’s offices by holographic teleport for a medical examination or vice versa. Yes, it’s all going to happen someday.

 

 

 

 

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Coronary collateral circulation is one of the major determinants of symptoms and outcomes in chronic CAD. But, we generally shrug off the value of coronary collateral circulation in acute coronary syndrome. The fact is, it has a myocardial mitigating effect following sudden total occlusion.

When does it appear? We did a small analysis (PDF version)

We found it is noted in 25% of patients. With reference time of appearance,  6% had it within 12hrs and in few, it was noted as early as 6 hrs. One caveat is,  we may not know whether its preexisting collateral due to chronic multivessel CAD. I am sorry to note this study did not address the outcome analysis. We however documented patients with good collaterals had negligible wall motion defect and near-normal function post PCI. Some of you can pursue research in this area. 

Potential role of collaterals in ACS

  1. It limits the infarct size
  2. Keep the myocardium alive and give us time to intervene
  3. Can converts a potential Q-MI to non-Q MI
  4. Possibly prevent primary VT/VF and hence dreaded sudden death in early STEMI
  5. Prevent early adverse remodeling of the left ventricle.

When these points appeared just my assumptions, Dr. Ali Aldujeli, (Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas) in his presentation, at TCT 2020 confirms many of them are  Indeed true

Final message

I agree, in the era of instant gratification with primary PCI,  relying on coronary collaterals may appear a lesser professional virtue. Still, we may need to respect nature. Many times it bails us out.

Current update 2020

Alsanjari, O., Chouari, T., Williams, T.,  Angiographically visible coronary artery collateral circulation improves prognosis in patients presenting with acute ST segment‐elevation myocardial infarction. Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions.  Volume96, IssueSeptember 1, 2020 Pages 528-533

 

 

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Covid has struck hard and this time it has consumed one of the Doyens of Neurology, from Coimbatore, India –Dr.M.B.Pranesh. Privileged to have him as my professor in Coimbatore medical college, my alma mater, watched him in close quarters during my undergraduate and MD days in the late 1980s.

Still recall, how he empathizes with the patient and their family in distress, practiced medicine in the best scientific manner at the same time with a humane and philosophical touch. I can’t forget, how the little genius standing beside the comatose patients In IMCU and tells so precisely the difference between metabolic vs structural coma without even asking for a CT or MRI scan.(We learned with awe, for the first time, how hyponatremia can cause havoc to the brain)  I have seen him so tired in many days and sleeping in the ward chair for a few minutes and comes back fresh for the rounds. He used to say sleep is a luxury in our profession. What a statement to make for our generation next.

His favorite quotes are from William Osler and ask us to read the life history Harvey Cushings. He encouraged us, to learn the history of medicine. He was so emphatic to say “Unless we know how our past physicians toiled with their astuteness and hard work, we will not understand the value of clinical medicine”

 

One of the pure souls who showed us what is the true meaning of teaching, learning, and caring. Got this small clip, wherein he continues to wish us good.

Let his legacy live forever. 

 

 

 

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Got it? One clue, you are part of these numbers! It crossed  5 million reads recently across 160 countries. Thanks. I know,It amounts to self-promotion. Such boosters are required when energy level sags. Sorry.

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Truely a great demonstration of life saving Mitra clip procedure.

Found this from

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