As a cardio-thoracic surgeon, Arkalgud Sampath Kumar has single-mindedly
worked to provide cost effective valve repair techniques that benefit
the poor. As a result the cost of
valve repair surgery is the lowest. And when the
new valves designed by him are mass produced, valve replacement may well become
the least expensive of all heart surgeries.
With over 12,000 heart surgeries under his belt and over 36
years of cardiothoracic
experience. He is one of the leading heart surgeons
of the country and is recognized as the most experienced surgeon in heart valve
SampathKumar was the first surgeon in India to establish the Ross procedure
by Dr Donald Ross in 1967) . This technique involves replacing diseased aortic and mitral vales
with the patient's own pulmonary valve and valves collected from cadavers replace
the pulmonary valve.
This procedure of transplanting the valves brings down substantially,
the cost of valvular surgery, eliminates the need for anti-coagulants and provides
Begun at the AIIMS in 1993 by Arkalgud Sampathkumar nearly 200 patients
have been successfully treated by this technique.
The Ross procedure would be difficult
without a tissue valve bank. Arkalgud SampathKumar established in 1993, the country's
first state- of- the- art heart valve bank at AIIMS. Valves can be stored for as
long as five years in this bank. Over 900 patients have benefited from this facility.
The field of cardiac surgery saw advancement in the Ross procedure. Known as Ross
II(mitral valve replacement with pulmonary autograft) Sampathkumar has the distinction
of having performed this operation successfully for the first time in India in 2000.
Over 150 designs since 1953 have succeeded in giving patients a new lease
of life. However they are unnatural in design, make noise, produce clots need life
long anticoagulation, reduce life span by 10 to 15 years, and introduce other hazards.
They are expensive. Heart valve substitutes made from animal tissue partially resemble
natural valve design. However, these are more expensive, less durable and suitable
only for the elderly patients. SampathKumar believes that valve resembling the human
valve only will succeed.
He has designed and patented two heart valves that are
closest to the natural valves in appearances and performance and made from a material
tested in the human blood circulation for over three decades.
A prototype is now
under production and he is confident that these would revolutionize valve replacement
surgery not just in India, but the entire world.
Videos of Cardiac Surgery
He has developed digital videos of cardiac surgery, earning him the appreciation
of his peers in medical schools around the world.
His videos are currently in great
demand as teaching aids.
Taking his teaching abilities further he has now produced
a computer based teaching program on coronary bypass surgery that is likely to receive
Acclaimed as one of the foremost teachers in cardiothoracic
surgery,he has been invited to demonstrate his innovative techniques in valvular
surgery to Indian and foreign surgeons at many centers of repute both in India and
abroad. He has trained over 80 students of cardiovascular surgery from India who
now emulate his techniques.
With his encouragement, students at the AIIMS have won
the prestigious Texas Heart Institute prize for undergraduate writing in the history
of cardiac surgery in 2003 and 2005.
He has contributed chapters on cardiothoracic
surgery for two textbooks of surgery during his early teaching years. He has completed
and published a textbook on techniques in cardiac valve surgery in 2006. He has
contributed over 150 monographs on various aspects of cardiothoracic surgery in
Indian and International journals of repute. He is editing the Indian Journal of
Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery for the last six years.
Sampath Kumar is also one of those rare medical professionals who fully believes
in patients' rights, particularly the right to information, choice and humane care.
He has authored a book on Patients' rights.
He has also penned down his unique
experiences with his patients and his own learning experiences and processes in
his book titled Thoracic park.