Dr. Ashok Bandopadhyay: A Diligent Patient Guide Emphasizing Cardiac Healthcare Awareness

 Dr. Ashok Bandopadhyay,  Clinical Director & Dept. of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Dr. Ashok Bandopadhyay

Clinical Director & Dept. of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Prevention is essential when it comes to cardiovascular diseases. It's crucial to address risk factors before symptoms develop. In recent years, there has been an alarming increase in heart attack cases in India. The analyzed reasons include smoking, a high-fat diet, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and others. However, urban India has made considerable progress in delivering high-quality diagnostics and interventional cardiac care to address the rising CVDs. In this vast realm of healthcare, numerous medical professionals are already making their mark by providing the best services. Dr. Ashok Bandopadhyay, MBBS, MS in General Surgery, M.Ch - Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgeon, stands out as a practitioner who helps patients grappling with various cardiology conditions.

The Huge Outlook of Heart Care

Dr. Ashok shares, “I am deeply inspired by my father, who was a doctor. He used to have a Life Magazine, in which I read about the very first heart transplant performed by Dr. Christian Barnard”. Coming from a family of doctors, it was almost inevitable for him to become a surgeon, and eventually a cardiac surgeon. However, his journey to becoming a distinguished Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgeon can be traced back to his formative years in Kolkata. Dr. Ashok has completed his MBBS from the prestigious Kolkata University in 1986, followed by a master's in surgery.

Additionally, he also did his training from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and underwent a four-year (M.Ch) intensive cardiac surgical training course at GB Pant Hospital, Delhi. Under the guidance of excellent professors, he gained valuable training that shaped him into the accomplished medical professional he is today. Dr. Ashok Bandyopadhyay acknowledges the significant influence of Dr. Thomas Ferguson, formerly editor of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, who taught him about research work, exploration of medical matters, paper and write-up presentations, and international meeting attendance. Dr. Ferguson's mentorship has had a lasting impact on Dr. Ashok's career.

The wealth of experience that Dr. Ashok carries today, has had its origin from Kolkata only. For the last 20 years, he has been leading the Peerless Hospital as the Clinical
Director of Dept. of Cardio-thoracic Surgery. His background lies in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) as a surgeon, specifically dealing with coronary artery disease issues; while his specialization extends to performing valves and congenital surgeries and treating peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

“We at Peerless have grown profoundly over the years, excelling across cardiac treatment & surgeries and presenting research papers. However, something that is close to my heart and which I'm currently working on is Total Arterial Grafting or Multiple Arterial Grafting. I have been a part of several forums and seminars to share my experiences on Multiple Arterial Grafting, which is being continued”, shares Dr. Ashok. The most recent presentation was to deliver as a distinguished guest lecturer in Paris in late 2023.

Treating patients who come in a critical state with massive heart injuries, & seeing them do well & walk home feeling much better after surgery is incredibly rewarding

The Comprehensive Cardiac Care

The allure of Dr. Ashok’s experience is really rich and magnanimous. In his tenure as a cardiac medic, he has proficiently dealt with many cardiac cases, and thus reviewing one he says, “A patient from Jonai, India, came to me with a massive heart attack. He underwent an angiogram and was put on a Heart-Lung machine while I performed a total arterial grafting (CABG) considering his young age. Despite his critical condition, he gradually improved and still keeps visiting me with his family. Well, not to mention, treating patients who come in a critical state with massive heart injuries, and seeing them do well and walk home feeling much better after surgery is incredibly rewarding for me. However, such critical surgeries can have side effects, and the recovery process is slow. Nevertheless, the results are truly gratifying”.

Every cardiac case is challenging, and most surgeries involve CABG. After surgery, it's important to follow up monthly, then every three months, and at least once every six months. Staying in touch through video or phone calls is essential. During check-ins, discussing lifestyle, diet, exercise, and the hereditary nature of heart disease is crucial. Daily exercise, a proper diet, adequate sleep, time off work, and vacations with family can help prevent coronary artery disease. “At Peerless Hospital, irrespective of the patient’s financial status who can barely make ends meet are treated equally. I’ve treated lots of patients from Swasthya Sathi, Ayushman Bharat, and others. We also have an economic package, which caters to those”, asserts Dr. Ashok.

Addressing the developments in the space, he explains, “Minimally invasive surgery has limitations due to restricted visibility and manipulation. Robotics offer potential but are unaffordable for many in India. Social and religious taboos contribute to the gap between the demand and supply of organs for transplants. The availability of suitable donor organs is the main obstacle. Despite these challenges, successful heart transplants offer hope for the future”.

The Insights Ahead

As far as the rewards and recognition are concerned, Dr. Ashok has been a gold medalist. He has been invited to several forums and seminars, and there are many more in line. Over the last 30 years, as the demand of cardiac surgery have evolved, he assumes the developments to scale further and thus, advises aspiring surgeons to remain dedicated and prepared to spend significant time with their patients, as it remains one of the most critical fields in medicine.