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Disease burden of heart problems more than expected?

health and fitness Updated: Mar 17, 2011 22:22 IST
Hindustan Times
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As many as 70% of the people who are diagnosed with heart disease in India do not seek treatment, an ongoing by a medical device manufacturing company study has found out.

The shocking revelation is part of the initial trend that has been observed during an ongoing exhaustive study in India taken up by Medtronic Inc, manufacturers of pacemakers and other rhythm management devices.

World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the number of persons suffering from heart-related problems in India has crossed 10% of global figures in 2010. The situation is projected to be so alarming that in 2020, Indian patients would top the list of global heart patients. But there is no clear data.

Lack of data about burden of arrhythmia in India prompted Medtronic to go ahead with a "major investment way beyond it can afford" - as one of its officials put - for a pan-arrhythmic study. It has been going on for three years and the company is hopeful to complete the compilation and publish it the next year.

"These people (70%) are not seeking any treatment, they are not following any line of treatment," said Shamit Dasgupta, Medtronic director (cardiac rhythm disease management, south Asia and ASEAN).

Another trend observed is that the burden of sudden cardiac arrests, specially for a particular type of cardio-vascular patients, is much higher in India than the global standards.

"We are using the CRO to do the diagnosis and we are hoping to find interesting results," Dasgupta said.

Considering the fact that Asians, more so Indians are genetically predisposed to have a heart disease or for that matter diabetes earlier than those in the west, the company plans to carry out gene pool specific research for coming up with designs of the pacemakers for the target market.

Said Jean-Luc Butel, executive vice president and group president, international, Medtronic, "Yes, I agree, most of the clinical studies are designed to satisfy the FDA (the US regulating agency). But in the long term this needs to change. We plan to set up clinical research facility here and, India will have a priority as the disease burden here is huge."

The company inaugurated its manufacturing facility here specially for emerging markets - China and India.

Dasgupta said, the company regularly holds and also plans to increase diagnostic camps in remote areas in India, looks forward to tie ups with Indian hospitals.

"We are working out on a number of pilot projects - strategies/approaches for increasing access," he said adding, "The company has carried out lot of market research through physicians."