Dr. Arun Kalyanasundaram: Revolutionizing Cardiovascular Care with Years of Industry Expertise

Dr. Arun Kalyanasundaram,Interventional Cardiologist & Director

Dr. Arun Kalyanasundaram

Interventional Cardiologist & Director

Interventional cardiology is a field of cardiovascular medicine that focuses on performing procedures in the heart in a minimally invasive manner. Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for Chronic Total Occlusion (CTO) (100 percent blockage) demands technical expertise and a nuanced understanding of cardiovascular pathology. Successfully treating CTOs can significantly improve the quality of life for patients, offer relief from symptoms and enhance overall cardiac function.

Ongoing advancements in technology and the accumulation of experience continue to refine the approach to CTO interventions, further improving outcomes for those affected by this challenging aspect of coronary artery disease. The practitioner whose name has become synonymous with complex angioplasties and CTOs in India is Dr. Arun Kalyanasundaram.

Dr. Kalyanasundaram is a highly skilled interventional cardiologist focusing on complex angioplasty procedures. Dr. Kalyanasundaram’s dedication to complex interventions, particularly on CTO angioplasty (PCI), is a distinguishing hallmark of his career. CTO angioplasty is metaphorically akin to navigating and opening a road covered in cement, demanding a level of skill and precision that goes beyond routine procedures, and being a master in various situations such as calcific vessels, post-bypass failures, surgical turn downs, low heart function patients, small vessels, left main blockages, and bifurcations.

Addressing complete blockage in coronary arteries requires a unique set of technical competencies and an intimate understanding of cardiovascular pathology. Dr. Kalyanasundaram’s expertise in this specialized field has positioned him as a leading practitioner and turned him into a sought-after proctor globally.

His journey began in India, where he pursued medicine at Madras Medical College. Here, he first glimpsed the profound impact of heart disease on individuals and communities, sparking a deep-seated desire to contribute meaningfully to cardiac care. His pursuit of knowledge and expertise led him to the U.S., where he undertook training at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio (ranked No.1 in cardiology and cardiac surgery for the last 29 years consecutively).

Here, Dr. Kalyanasundaram immersed himself in an environment characterized by cutting-edge research, innovation, and a rich history of pioneering advancements in cardiac care. The experience gained at this institution refined his medical skills and instilled in him a commitment to pushing the boundaries.

In interventional cardiology, proctoring is a testament to one’s mastery, and Dr. Kalyanasundaram has emerged as a beacon in this aspect.
His role as a proctor involves performing complex procedures himself and imparting knowledge and skills to the next generation of cardiovascular specialists. As a mentor and educator, he shares the intricacies of CTO angioplasty, shaping the future landscape of interventional cardiology.

This commitment to teaching goes beyond individual accomplishments, reflecting a broader dedication to advancing the field and ensuring a legacy of well-trained practitioners who can navigate the challenges of complex cardiovascular interventions with expertise and precision. His experiences abroad, coupled with a deep-seated desire to bring cutting-edge medical therapy to his home country, motivated him to bridge gaps in healthcare accessibility.

Setting Home Base
After nearly two decades of dedicated service in the U.S., Dr. Kalyanasundaram felt a profound calling to address the gaps in cardiovascular care in South Asia, which he realized during his proctoring trips to Asia. Further, his exploration of the South Asian market revealed a pressing need for advanced interventions, motivating him to return to India despite initial skepticism. Driven by the belief that his skills could offer a lifeline to countless patients, he embarked on a mission to bridge the healthcare disparity.

Setting up his base in Chennai, Dr. Kalyanasundaram acknowledged the need for comprehensive cardiovascular care beyond CTO interventions. With a vision of creating a center of excellence, he established a hospital where patients could receive world-class, evidence-based care for a spectrum of cardiovascular conditions. Despite the challenges in his niche, including the pervasive issue of limited insurance coverage and a trust deficit in medical opinions, Dr. Kalyanasundaram adopted a proactive approach. He initiated workshops, training sessions, and offered industry-sponsored resources to alleviate the financial burden on patients.

In interventional cardiology, proctoring is a testament to one’s mastery & Dr. Kalyanasundaram has emerged as a beacon in this aspect

Understanding the pivotal role of patient engagement, Dr. Kalyanasundaram emphasizes education in his approach. He guides patients through their treatment plans, ensuring they comprehend the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind each step. He advocates for holistic well-being and encourages lifestyle modifications, addressing diet, exercise, stress management, and quality sleep. As a fervent advocate for personalized care, Dr. Kalyanasundaram dispels the myth that certain blockages are too small or too complex for intervention.

“The appropriateness of a procedure should be determined by clinical factors rather than perceived procedural difficulty or the practitioner’s skillsets”, says Dr. Kalyanasundaram, Interventional Cardiologist and Director of the Asia Pacific CTO Club. Dr. Kalyanasundaram’s contributions to the field have not gone unnoticed. He is extensively published in leading cardiovascular journals, has chaired and given key note talks in several major cardiac conferences.

He has pioneered a new technique in CTO interventions that has not only been published in a leading cardiovascular journal, but has been also named the K14 technique (a homage to his performing and publishing this technique for the first time in the world; K14 is short for Kalyanasundaram – his nickname from his fellowship days at the Cleveland Clinic). In addition, he is the first Indian to be appointed as a Director of the Asia Pacific CTO Club, an exclusive club of the leading interventional cardiologists in Asia who are masters and thought leaders in CTO angioplasty. This group publishes guidelines and sets the benchmark for CTO interventions for the Asia Pacific region.

Amidst these professional accolades, Dr. Kalyanasundaram attributes much of his success to the unwavering support of his family. His wife, a doctor, has been a steadfast pillar, enabling him to pursue his ambitious endeavors. Dr. Kalyanasundaram envisions a future where cardiovascular care in India is not just about interventions but also comprehensive, patient-centric health. His commitment to excellence, patient education, and continuous innovation positions him as a stalwart in the ever-evolving cardiology landscape. Dr. Kalyanasundaram’s story is one of dedication, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of excellence in cardiovascular care, making him a true leader.