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A year after heart surgery, PM fitter than ever
Published on 23 Jan. 2010 11:26 PM IST
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A year after he underwent five by-pass graft surgeries lasting 12 hours, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is probably one of the most active and agile Indian leaders. Ramakant Panda, who led the team that performed the surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, says that Manmohan Singh’s health now is “excellent”. He adds: “It’s there for the whole country to see...” “In fact, I would say that the PM is fitter than his doctor! He faithfully does his 45 minutes of daily exercise at home, something which even I cannot manage,” Panda told IANS here. The surgery took place Jan 24, 2009. Always leading a disciplined lifestyle, doctors said that the 77-year-old prime minister was extremely conscious and careful of the precautions he has to follow -- such as controlling his diet and diabetes. “He has been a good patient always,” said Panda, an eminent heart surgeon who belongs to Mumbai. Though Manmohan Singh missed actively canvassing in the April-May 2009 Lok Sabha election, the Congress party not only returned to power but rewarded him with a second term as PM. The surgery a year ago was the prime minister’s second one. Doctors encountered as many as five blockages. It started at 8.45 a.m. that day. The prime minister was wheeled to the Intensive Care Unit exactly 12 hours and 10 minutes later after receiving five bypasses. Barely seven weeks later, he was welcomed back to his duties in the Prime Minister’s Office - and an anxious nation heaved a sigh of relief. During the surgery, the surgeons made an incision about six-seven inches along the scar that marked the prime minister’s earlier bypass operation performed way back in 1990. He was given five grafts. The grafts for the four most affected vessels were taken from the mammary artery and the radial artery in the left hand. For the right artery that was least affected, a graft was taken from the saphenous vein in his left leg, Panda explained. Panda’s team of experts included 11 from Mumbai’s prestigious Asian Heart Institute & Research Centre (AHI) and six from the AIIMS. The other AHI members besides Panda included Pradyot Kumar Rath, a cardio-vascular thoracic surgeon, Vijay D’silva, ICU specialist, and Narendra Garach, a cardiac anaesthetist. At the time, cardiologist Srinath Reddy, who also heads the prime minister’s medical team, had remarked that Manmohan Singh’s “disciplined lifestyle” had helped prevent a heart attack. Post the operation, Panda had said: “If the PM could have been so active with all the blockages, he can be even more active now.” In the past 12 months, Panda and others have carried out regular check-ups of the prime minister every quarter - and they return pleased with his good health.

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