The Cardiology Hub of Asia: Our Aspiration

Institut Jantung Negara (IJN): Malaysia’s Flagship Cardiology Hospital
Situated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur is Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) – Malaysia’s flagship cardiology hospital. Malaysia’s world-renowned, internationally accredited heart centre is also the largest independent cardiac centre in the entire Southeast Asian region. Malaysia aspires to become the cardiology hub of Asia by 2023, and IJN will be spearheading the hub as the anchor and flagship cardiology hospital, followed by the country’s lineup of premier cardiology hospitals. IJN has set three different precedents in cardiology treatments in Malaysia:

i. Total Hybrid Aortic Arch Replacement
IJN has pioneered a cardiology treatment known as the total hybrid arch replacement. It is a procedure that is used to repair aortic aneurysms. Before this unprecedented method, patients with aortic aneurysms have to undergo two separate procedures. Now, all that’s needed is one, significantly reducing the risks to the patient.

ii. Total Aorta Replacement
In 2017, IJN completed the total aorta replacement surgery – Malaysia’s first-ever cardiac surgery of such nature. It was carried out on a patient who had thoracoabdominal aneurysm.

iii. Arterial Switch Surgery
In 2019, IJN completed the country’s first arterial switch surgery on one of the two conjoined-twins who were successfully separated earlier that year. The conjoined twin were diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA), which is an extremely rare congenital heart disease.

Understanding The Types and Causes of Various Heart Diseases

Heart diseases, while diverse, can be broken down into two categories: congenital heart diseases and acquired heart diseases.

i. Congenital Heart Diseases
Congenital heart diseases are the results of heart defects that are present since birth, and the causes are often unknown. Defects to the structure of the heart can result in the disruption of the normal blood flow through the heart, as defects can involve everything from the walls of the heart, the valves of the heart, and the arteries and veins near the heart. Congenital heart diseases include patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), ventricular septal defect (VSD), atrial septal defects and Tetralogy of Fallot.

ii. Acquired Heart Diseases
Unlike congenital heart diseases, acquired heart diseases are the result of conditions that develop at some point during one’s lifetime. Acquired heart diseases are often attributed to sedentary lifestyles and habits that might damage the body, such as smoking, stress, and being physically inactive. Acquired heart diseases include coronary heart disease (CHD), arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), heart attack, and heart failure.

Understanding The Human Heart
While heart diseases often plague those above the age of 30, it doesn’t mean that those younger than 30 years old are exempted. This is why we need to understand our heart more. Going for heart checks regularly ensures that heart diseases never catch you off guard. The common telltale signs of heart diseases include increased heart rate, unusual fatigue, persistent burning sensation in the upper abdomen, and chest pain or tightness.

What To Expect From Cardiology Treatments
There is no room for error in cardiac surgery. Therefore, you should be prepared for a series of comprehensive tests for an accurate diagnosis. If necessary, early heart surgeries (invasive or non-invasive) will be performed to ease the situation. However, it might lead to a longer stay in the hospital for post-surgery rehabilitation. Rehab plays a huge role in all cardiac treatments alike.

Heart Disease Treatments in Malaysia

Here are some of the procedures that Malaysia’s medical marvels specialise in:

i. Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
CABG is a type of invasive, open-heart surgery that improves blood flow to the heart, often used to treat severe coronary heart disease (CHD). This is one of the most tried and true heart surgeries.

ii. Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)
With the advancement of medical technology, minimally invasive procedures came into existence, and PTCA is one of them. It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that’s used to treat blocked coronary arteries.

iii. Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)
Also known as angioplasty with stent, PCI is a minimally-invasive, non-surgical procedure that’s used to treat atherosclerosis (blood vessels in the heart that’s narrowed by plaque buildup). It uses a thin flexible tube known as a catheter. Most centres do it within 90 minutes, as recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) does it in 45 minutes, beginning from the moment the patient enters the operating theater (OT).

iv. Angiogram/Angiography
Used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, angiogram is an x-ray procedure that is used to evaluate blockages in the arterial system. Iodine dye, a contrast agent, is injected into the body before the procedure is performed.

v. Cardiothoracic Surgery
This is a surgical specialty that concerns the organs inside the thorax (the chest), such as the lungs, esophagus and thymus. The purpose of this surgery is to treat organ infections and to remove tumours or cancers in the chest.

Malaysia’s medical marvels will attend to your concerns in a heartbeat. Contact us now to know more about cardiac surgery and various cardiology treatments in Malaysia.