Cardiothoracic Surgery


History of the department

The department of Cardiothoracic Surgery was first established in CMC in 1948, by an American Surgeon Dr. Reeve H. Betts. Initially only thoracic surgery (surgery of the lungs and oesophagus) was being done, while efforts were made to establish an open heart surgery programme. Open heart surgery was in its infancy world wide at that time. The department of Cardiothoracic Surgery did the first open heart surgery in the country in the year 1962. The first M.Ch Cardiothoracic programme established in the country was also from our Institution. It was recognized by the Madras University for the M.Ch. (Master of Chirurgery) in Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery in the year 1958. Over 120 Cardiothoracic Surgeons have trained at this institution, and are scattered over all parts of India and abroad carrying out major thoracic and cardiovascular surgeries.

Dr. Gopinath the first MCh. trainee went on to became the Head of the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences for many years. Padma Shri Dr. Stanley John took over as the Head of this department after Dr. Gopinath, and worked here for almost 25 years, establishing it as one of the best centers in the country.

The department attracts patients with complex problems from pockets located along the length and breadth of the country, and thus has evolved a strong clinical base. It has the backing of good Cardiology and Pulmonary Medicine departments. The department handles patients with various forms of heart ailments which require surgical correction i.e. congenital cardiac condition, acquired cardiac lesions and coronary artery bypass surgery. The department has to its credit the largest number of total surgical corrections for "blue babies" in the country, over 2000 cases. Amongst common acquired cardiac lesions, mitral valvular disease due to rheumatic heart disease which is still endemic in our country, forms the most common type of lesion. Over 6000 closed mitral valvotomies for mitral stenosis have been carried out in our hospital one of the largest series in the world.

Operations of the lung continue to form a significant proportion of the quantum of work. The cardiac workload has tremendously increased in recent years and the demand on us is overwhelming. The department has been carrying out about 18-24 open heart operations a week and about 3-4 closed heart and 10lung operations every week on a regular basis.

Last year we have done 1135 cases (open heart-790, closed heart-80, lung operation-265) with results comparable to the best centers in the world. So far we have done close to 19,000 open heart operations in our centre.

We have a regular stream of doctors, medical students and nurses from various institutions from India and abroad who visit us. We also have General Surgery registrars doing a rotation posting through our department.

Patients undergoing surgery are drawn from various parts of India especially North East India as well as neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Burma, and the Middle East. We have recently started to attract patients from Africa as well.

Laboratory support services include; a state-of-the art pulmonary function, exercise physiology and sleep labs. The department has a busy diagnostic bronchoscopy and medical thoracoscopy services. Besides this, there is also a therapeutic bronchoscopy service. The respiratory research wing of the department is involved in National and International multicentre pharmaceutical trials and “original research” in pulmonary physiology, asthma, COPD, tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.

Cardio Thoracic Surgery specializes in the care of:

  • Congenital Heart disease where the newborns, infants and children are blue, breathless, Fail to grow or have recurrent respiratory tract infections
  • Ischemic heart disease where the blood supply to the heart is poor. Patients get angina, shortness of breath, swollen ankles etc
  • Valvular heart disease – the valves in the heart have an opening that is too small or the valves leak
  • Lung Problems Including tumours, infections
  • Chest wall deformity corrections

Surgery Offered

  • Intracardiac repairs for complex congenital heart diseasees
  • CABG
  • Valve replacements/repair
  • Aortic root/arch repairs/replacement
  • Lung resections
  • Lung Decortications
  • Mediastinal and Chest wall Misc. Surgeries

Out patient clinics

General & Private out patient services

  • Monday to Friday (3.00PM to 4.30 PM)
  • Saturday (9.00 AM to 12 Noon)

In-patient services

  • 15 bedded ICU
  • 12 bedded Semi-ICU
  • 44 General Beds
  • Unlimited private beds

Bronchoscopy/Thoracoscopy services

  • Flexible/video bronchoscopy
  • Therapeutic bronchoscopy

Departmental academic programme

  • Weekly Seminars on topics of relevance
  • Weekly Journal club on recent publications
  • Weekly bed side clinical case discussion
  • Monthly outpatient chart audit
  • Monthly death audit
  • Monthly meeting on progress of research projects

Educational Programmes

1.MCH in Thoracic Surgery: Qualifications a) M.S (Gen. Surgery)

2.Perfusion technology course: 2 year full time course with one year internship Qualification: BSc in science

3.Critical Care Nursing programme in Cardiothoracic surgery

4.Diploma in Cardiothoracic Nursing

5.Non-PG posts & Research jobsare available for MBBS, MS students

6.For further details contact: The Head, Department of Thoracic Surgery, Christian Medical College, Vellore-632004, India.

Financial AID for Patients

The department tries to get money to support for patients who find it difficult to pay their medical bills. This is mainly for the patients on the general ward. Around 450-500 patients are given financial assistance every year. The money comes from the Prime minister’s fund, Chief minister’s fund, charitable trusts and philanthropic individuals who want to help others.

Staff Faculty

  • Dr. Vinayak Shukla, Professor & Head of the department
  • Dr. Roy Thankachen, Professor & Head
  • Dr. Madhu Andrew Philip, Professor & Head
  • Dr. Alpha Mathew Kavunkal, Professor (on study leave)
  • Dr. Korah T Kuruvila, Professor
  • Dr. Ravi Shankar, Associate Professor (on study leave)
  • Dr. Birla Roy Gnanamuthu, Associate Professor
  • Dr. Lalit Choudhry, Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Vinay M. Rao, Assistant Professor