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Innovative ‘turban’ helps in saving critical patient with brain injury

Ludhiana: Doctors at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), Ludhiana have designed an innovative ‘turban’ that helped save the life of a critical patient with brain injury.

Dr Harinder Singh Bedi along with William Prem showing the ‘CMC-Bedi cool turban’, which helped save a patient’s brain.

Kuljeet Kaur (name changed) of Sarabha Nagar, Ludhiana suffered from a rare disease – a massive swelling (aneurysm) of the arteries in the neck going to her brain and right hand. She had previously suffered a brain attack (stroke) and was now in imminent danger of rupture of the swollen arteries.

She was referred to Dr Harinder Singh Bedi, head of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at CMCH, Ludhiana.

“On investigation it was realised that the treatment itself could cause a stroke, as the repair of the artery would need a 5-minute time of clamping which would not have been tolerated as the brain was already in jeopardy,” said Dr Bedi, who was trained in advanced cardiovascular techniques at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney where he operated upon cases with cooling of the whole body (hypothermia) to preserve organ function.

“It is a well-known fact that any injury is better tolerated if the temperature of the injured organ is lowered. But here the problem was unique as the patient was elderly and the whole body cooling would not have been tolerated,” said Dr Bedi.

“So, I thought of cooling just the brain and designed a unique cooling turban, which was constructed with the help of Dr S Garg, Dr Melchi — senior cardiac anaesthetists — and William Prem (chief perfusionist) and Mr Mathew. Using their vast experience they were able to put the idea into practice. They made a turban like coil with plastic tubes. These were placed around the patient’s head after anaesthesia. Now, cold sterile water was pumped into these coils so that the head alone got cooled. The surgery was now done with the brain temperature low,” said Dr Bedi.

Dr Bedi added that he re-implanted a major vessel of the brain — the vertebral artery — so that as much blood as possible was given to the brain — this is a specially tricky and challenging part of the operation and is done very rarely.

“Kaur did well and her brain function was preserved. The other members of the team during the marathon surgery were Dr S Garg, Dr Melchi, Dr Anish, Dr Jai Prakash, Dr Pearl, Dr Amrutha and Dr Rakhi,” said Dr Bedi.

Dr Abraham G Thomas, director, CMCH, Ludhiana, said that it was with such innovations that Indian surgeons were able to tackle otherwise hopeless cases.

Dr Bedi said that they would patent the technique and publish it so that it could be used all over the world to help similar cases.

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