The School of Medical Research and Technology (SMRT) of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur announced the launch of Hridyantra at the beginning of this year. It is a grand challenge-based program to develop the most advanced artificial heart or Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) worldwide.
The program, in collaboration with the country's leading hospitals, is supposed to promote the vision made in India for the world. Professor Abhay Karandikar, the Director at IIT-K, stated, "With Hridyantra, we are moving another step forward in realising our vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat. The program, providing an innovation platform for enterprising problem solvers, will not only enrich the health ecosystem of the country but will also lead the way in interdisciplinary biomedical research and innovation."
Task Force To Develop India's First LVAD System
A task force comprised of industry experts will serve as mentors as they will select a team of innovators with relevant experience. Graduates in medical, engineering, and basic sciences or graduates of any stream with appropriate experience will be eligible to compete in the challenge of devising India's first LVAD system.
The SMRT of IIT-K has formed a power-packed team, including engineering faculty from the institute, industry experts from the United States, and clinical experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi, Apollo, Fortis Healthcare, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Medanta, Narayana Health, and UN Mehta Heart Institute to guide the chosen fellows on developing the Artificial Heart.
According to a report by India Med Today, once the LVAD has been successfully commercialised and established, the selected applicants will be provided with a fellowship and milestone-based ownership in the commercial entity.
What Is An Artificial Heart/ Left Ventricular Assist Device?
Hridyantra aims to be the country's most prestigious and impactful medical device innovation program. The LVAD is a pump for patients diagnosed with end-stage heart failure, which will serve as a bridge while patients await heart transplants or those unable to get treatment. It is an implantable battery-operated mechanical pump that supports the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, to pump blood to the rest of the body.
The initiative aims to reduce the cost through indigenous technology while not compromising on quality. The device will be affordable and available for just ₹ 20 lakh, compared to an imported artificial heart's ₹ 1.20 crore cost making it 8 times cheaper than the latter.
The artificial heart may be a lifesaver when access to heart transplant facilities is limited for everybody, whether owing to cost or availability issues, particularly in a nation where a significant portion of the population struggles to access healthcare services.
Recently, in a piece in The Times of India, Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, better known as Devi Shetty, lauded the IITians and their innovation. Shetty Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) is an Indian entrepreneur and cardiac surgeon who is the chairman and founder of the Narayana Health chain of hospitals.
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