Declining popularity leaves 50 percent cardiothoracic seats vacant
Chennai: Cardiac Surgery, once a lucrative profession to pursue, seems to be taking a back seat with Cardiology emerging as a contending force. According to information released to the TOI by the Secretary, Selection Committee, 50% seats in cardiothoracic surgery in the state, including the likes of the prestigious Madras Medical College, have not been filled.
This has happened due to the advancements that have taken place in the field of Cardiology, during the past decade."There is a huge demand for cardiology, but surgery seats are vacant," said state Selection Committee, Secretary, Dr G Selvarajan.
"Rapid developments in the field of cardiology are among the most important reasons," said Dr K Kannan, Head, Cardiology, Stanley Medical College. "Cardiologists are now able to do things which they could not ten years ago. Even a 90-year-old with a block in the heart can undergo a procedure to clear it. These patients may not be taken for an open heart surgery as it comes with a high risk," he said.
As the procedures involved are minimally invasive and can be done in cath labs instead of huge operation theatres, most patients return to work within two weeks. Stating progress in cardiac surgery to be relatively slow, senior cardiac surgeons feel, things would only change for the better when there are improved surgical options.
Paediatric Surgery and Plastic Surgery are the two other streams which are suffering a setback too, as there exist vacancies in colleges for these specialities, as well. The reason given by doctors for the setbacks for these two streams being the same as those of cardiac surgery.
Advances in dermatology have had an effect on plastic surgery"The number of cosmetic options in dermatology is vast now. This will last until there are newer developments in plastic surgery," Director, Medical Education, Dr A Edwin Joe told TOI.
The state is considering giving concessions to students joining these three streams. The Directorate, Medical Education, which makes specific period work mandatory for all students or pay Rs 2 crore as penalty, may offer relaxation for cardiac surgery alone this year, say Health Department officials.