Would you like to be awake while having open-heart surgery?
This is the astonishing picture of Swaroup Anand, a 23-year-old patient that went under the knife in Bangalore at Wockhardt Hospital while he was still very much awake. Doctors chose to numb his body with an epidural to the neck rather than send him to sleep with general anaesthesia.
Lead surgeon Dr Vivek Jawali, said they had performed more than 600 operations this way since 1999. Speaking from his hospital in India, he said: “There has been a huge effort in recent times to make heart surgery less invasive. This can be done in two ways. Firstly smaller cuts can be made and this is helped with modern technology and robotics. Secondly we are trying to interfere as little as possible with the body’s natural functions.”
"The patients are given a mild sedative rather than being knocked out - this drops their heart rate but means they can respond to commands. The patients are drowsy so they can be aroused but are also able to drift into sleep,” Dr Jawali said. “If we need them to cough or breathe more deeply to clear air from their heart they can respond. This makes the procedure a lot easier to perform.”