Serdang Heart Centre performs 100 surgeries daily

Serdang Heart Centre sees about 160,000 patients a year. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Najjua Zulkefli, May 26, 2024.

SERDANG Heart Centre continues to serve the needs of heart patients from all over the country despite facing some challenges with its operating theatres, said its head of cardiology, Dr Abdul Kahar Ghapar.

“This facility sees about 160,000 patients a year, which is the largest number of patients in Southeast Asia,” he told The Malaysian Insight in an interview.

“Although there are some issues with the operating theatres in both the old and new wings, the majority of interventions and procedures are able to be done in the seven out of eight available cardiac labs (operating theatres), which is the most in the country.

“This amounts to about 100 procedures a day or about 16,000 invasive procedures a year,” he said.

He was referring to a recent report that all four operating theatres in the heart centre and four more in the main hospital, Sultan Idris Shah Hospital, were not functioning.

Hospital deputy director Dr Ferwahn Fairis told The Malaysian Insight that three of the operating theatres in the heart centre were operational and that all four would be fully functional by next month.

He also said all four operating theatres in the main block of the hospital were working.

Serdang Heart Centre cardiology head Dr Abdul Kahar Ghapar says Malaysia needs more heart specialists. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Najjua Zulkefli, May 26, 2024.

Dr Kahar said the operating theatres at the heart centre and the hospital were able to handle most of the cases.

“With the latest innovative instruments, devices, and treatment solutions that we have in the facility, most minimally invasive procedures like angiograms, angioplasty, implantable devices like pacemakers, and implantable cardioverter defibrillators can and are being performed in these cardiac labs, which are essentially mini operating theatres.

“A large proportion of patients need these procedures rather than major surgery,” he said.

He added that patients with a more urgent need are prioritised while others are sent to the Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) for procedures, as has been the practice for some time now.

Cardiac emergencies head Dr Faizal Salikin said the Emergency Department is open 24 hours while the centre has come up with innovative solutions to help patients in the fastest possible turnaround time.

He cited an example of a patient coming from Banting in an ambulance after suffering a heart attack.

The patient was stabilised, had an angiogram and an interventional stent implanted, and returned to Banting Hospital within hours.

The department also has its own angiogram lab within its emergency room floor to reduce waiting time for urgent cases, said Dr Faizal.

Cardiac emergencies head Dr Faizal Salikin says Serdang Heart Centre is training grounds for specialists in the region. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Najjua Zulkefli, May 26, 2024.

The Serdang Heart Centre is training grounds for specialists in the region. Indonesians and Nepalese doctors are currently training with the local team.

Dr Kahar said this has been the norm for many years because the cardiologists in Malaysia are regarded as some of the best in the region.

But there is a need for more specialists.

“There are currently about 400 cardiologists in the country for a population of 34 million, and only about 10% of these cardiologists are employed with the Ministry of Health,” he said.

“This means that with the bulk of patients in the public hospitals – about 80% – are being treated by about these 40 consultants.

“Hence the necessity of Malaysia training as well as deploying more consultants to care for the people.”  – May 26, 2024.

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