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Lahore

June 1, 2018
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PIMS first hospital to offer free coronary stents

Lahore

June 1, 2018

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Islamabad: If things go as planned, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences will become the first health facility in Islamabad and Rawalpindi to give free lifesaving stents to cardiac patients within a fortnight.

The private hospitals charge such a patient up to Rs190,000 for the surgical procedure to insert stent(s), a spring-like metal device, into narrowed or blocked arteries to pop them open and thus, resuming blood supply to the heart. The amount covers the cost of stent, guide wire, balloon pump and surgical disposables.

Recently, the Supreme Court directed the government and private hospitals to cut that cost to Rs0.1 million in line with the recommendations of a committee formed by it under the chairmanship of noted cardiologist Dr Azhar Kiani, and produce compliance within three months.

The PIMS is the capital city’s only government hospital, which carries out angioplasty and stent insertion. Its Cardiac Centre examines stent-seeking patients in three categories.

The first category is for the government employees, who produce their departments’ letter to claim hospital charges waiver but have to pay stent cost out of own pocket. The departments later reimburse that amount to them. The second category is for the patients, who bear all hospital and stent charges, while the third one is for the poor people, who use Zakat funds to pay hospital charges and Baitul Mal’s for stent insertion.

According to an insider, the hospital uses two kinds of stents, one drug-coated and other simple, with the former costing from Rs100,000 to Rs150,000 each and later from Rs40,000 to Rs70,000 each depending on quality. And in case the sought-after stent is unavailable, the patient goes for the available one.

The PIMS like the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology purchases imported stents from pharmaceutical companies for own use. The Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, the third public sector health facility carrying out angioplasty and stent insertion in twin cities, also used to do so but it recently began importing stents by itself.

The cardiologists are understood to favour stent suppliers in procurements to claim hefty commissions. Now, the PIMS has planned to offer free primary angioplasty to all patients before Eidul Fitr.

“We’ll do primary angioplasty on all the visitors free of charge as denial of or delay in the instantly required operation to repair damaged blood vessel or unblock a coronary artery could cause them to die,” PIMS executive director Dr Raja Amjad Mehmood told ‘The News’.

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