Introduction / Dedication (Heart to Heart Edition 1 – By Dr. Keyur Parikh)

This book is for my dear patient, dear wife and my lovely family, all of whom have been close to me over the last many decades.

I have ventured into the world of writing with three aims.

The first is to make the general public aware of the increasing incidence of heart diseases and, hopefully, to help reduce heart diseases in the future. Secondly, I want to prepare my readers to face deadly and grim situations like a heart attack with courage and fortitude. Usually, people learn about hearts attacks when some near and dear one becomes a victims. This learning usually happens at midnight in some strange hospital where a tired doctor advises about the seriousness of the disease and the treatment options!

On such occasions, people are hounded by two fears: the first fear, of course, is the fear of the disease, the second is the fear of the unknown. Will they be able to tackle the disease with the resources they have? I hope, none of you ever have to undergo such an ordeal.

Since the last three decades, I have been working hard in offices, hospitals, cath labs, operation theaters, board rooms and elsewhere. I have taught numerous of doctors about cardiology and tens of thousands of laymen about the heart disease and how to prevent it. My world has had nothing but doctors, medicines and patients. Hence this attempt to take tine off and relax too….

Through this book, I hope to explain to you the heart and its diseases in the relaxed atmosphere of your home, and hopefully, God forbid, before a heart attack hits you or your loved ones.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that by the year 2020 half the heart patients of the world will be of Indian origin. If we want to change that and frustrate the forecast, all Indians will have to unite to learn about heart diseases and how to prevent them.

As a doctor, I wish that you give a serious thought to heart diseases. But to lighten your reading on this serious subject I have included a selection of humorous incidents, experiences and real life jokes on almost every page.

I believe my success as a doctor become possible because of my dear wife’s never ending support. My family, also has been the most understanding one a doctor could ever wish, my parents, Harshadray & Surbala, and above all, my three lovely children.

I have a special story about the hearts of my parents-in-law. We are a closely knit family; so close that my father-in-low Kanubhai dared to submit his heart to me (for angiography). I must out on record that in those days angiography was considered to be a risky investigation. My father-in-law’s trust in me was indeed heartening.

I did his coronary angiography while he was visiting me in California, USA and found that his coronary arteries were blocked and also that arteries were blocked and also that it was not possible to treat him with angioplasty. So I had him operated in California in 1992 and he got better.

Later, he entrusted his heart to me thrice for checking for blocked arteries and in 2005 while he was visiting India, I put a stent in one of his blocked bypass graft at the age of 75. He is doing very well since then. Thus, while my loving wife Reeta gave me her heart only once, my father-in-law entrusted his heart to me on four separate occasions!

After I came back to India from USA, I wanted to retire. I suffered from severe backache. Some of my vertebrae are affected… And anyway in the USA I had treated lots of patients. I had done lots of procedures and participated in many clinical research trials. All I wanted to do in India was to see a few patients and spend time with my family. But that fancy did not last long, because the incidence of heart disease was rising in India and the society needed cardiologists.

My father also suffered chest pain at that time. I did an angiography on him and found that he needed a “Bypass’ operation. So he was operated in 1995, under my supervision and is doing very well at the age of 80.

Not much later, my brother Himanshu came from London on vacation. He suffered chest pain. By chance I was working in a cath lab. I immediately did his angiography, followed by an angiography and put in a stent. He became so well that he actually drove himself home the next day!

The stars of my life, my children, Shivam, Roosha and Parth have enjoyed a central place in my life. All the three have been perfect children and given me endless joy. I would like to thank my family, my doctor colleagues and the staff at The Heart Care Clinic, my daughter Roosha Parikh, and Prof. Mallagi, a dear friend and a patient, who spent his precious time to help me convert my ‘Doctor English to Oxford English. My heartfelt thanks to all of them.

All these years while practising, I have been guided by two major criteria or qualities which I value most : honesty and ethics.

I wish to offer this intensely personal book to my patients and the readers who I expect to escape being my patients, with great love.

Dr Keyur Parikh