7000 cardiac emergencies handled in 10 months using WhatsApp
‘Save Heart Kashmir’, an initiative using social networking application ‘WhatsApp’ has achieved a milestone in Kashmir valley by handling more than 7000 life-threatening cardiac emergencies in the past 10 months.
Started by three doctors in March 2017, a humble initiative has now become a network of 800 doctors who are saving patients suffering cardiac emergencies especially in peripheries of the valley.
Dr Nasir Shamas, a cardiologist at JLNM Hospital, Rainawari said they have been able to achieve the milestone by reaching out to people voluntarily via WhatsApp.
“From 21 December 2017, 70769 cases of life-threatening cardiac emergencies, including 1000 critical patients’, have been handled by the doctors via the network,” he said on the sidelines of first annual Save Heart Kashmir update and conference at SKIMS, Soura.
Shamas said they have been able to give thrombolysis—dissolution of a blood clot, especially as induced artificially by infusion of an enzyme into the blood—to 362 patients.
“With the help of the group, we have analyzed 20283 electrocardiography (ECG) result. Daily we analyze 55 ECGs. Per day we get around 25 cases,” he said.
After the save heart initiative was started, the doctors have activated seven more district hospitals and 22 sub-district hospitals (SDHs). Primary health centres (PHCs) are the new players in the initiative who have also taken the challenge.
Shamas¸ who is among the founder member of the group said doctors at SDHs contribute 73% share in the initiative. Earlier before the initiative, SDHs and PHCs had a minimal role in it.
ECG of the patients is done within 10 minutes of arrival and their ECG is uploaded few minutes if a doctor needs help. The doctor gets a response within two minutes.
He said if a patient needs referral, tertiary care hospital is informed and the patient is followed via patient tracking system.
Dr Irfan Bhat, cardiologist at SMHS Hospital and part of the group said few months before there was a patient from Sopore who had an abnormal connection in the heart which is prone to develop disorder and can cause sudden death.
“The doctor there uploaded the patients ECG report on WhatsApp group. There was no drug available. We advise him to go for DC shock which helped and patient survived,” he said. The patient was then referred to SMHS hospital for catheter ablation.
Bhat said recently there was patient from Khalsi a village in Leh district. The patient had suffered an acute heart attack.
“He was taken to the hospital. There was an orthopedician on duty who took advantage of the WhatsApp group to treat the patient. He uploaded ECG. He said he can’t refer the patient fearing adversity. We suggested him thrombolysis and he was saved,” he said.
Earlier, according to health experts, heart attack patients would come to peripheral hospitals and doctors were scared of giving life-saving drugs as they had no expert advice.
“Sometimes an expert doctor is not available so WhatsApp is the option which has helped a lot to save the patients at the peripheral hospitals,” said Bhat.
The network has extended. The group has three WhatsApp groups, where senior physicians and cardiologists are in each group and remain active day and night.
“We can’t wait to refer the patients and without wasting time patients are being served via the network. Doctors communicate with each other and it is life-saving initiative,” said a doctor from Pulwama.
Save Heart Kashmir is a forum of doctors of Directorate of Health Services Kashmir, SKIMS and Government Medical College Srinagar which is being appreciated from many countries acroos the globe.
Dr Rehana Kauser, state epistemologist and in-charge Save Heart Initiative said for the selfless endeavour they are training health personnel for up gradation and skill enhancement.
“Till now we have trained 326 doctors in the total 16 trainings. Training is followed by linking them to WhatsApp group where they follow protocols,” she said.
“It is first in India that WhatsApp has been sued for acute emergency care.”
Kauser said the initiative is aimed to reduce time and empower doctors to recognize cardiac anomalies and give appropriate scientific treatment.