This Article is From Jun 28, 2022

Saveheart Initiative: How A Cardiologist In Kashmir Is Saving Lives Virtually

Meet Dr Irfan Bhat, Cardiologist in Government Medical College, Srinagar, who has been providing treatment for heart attack cases in remote areas in the valley


In the middle of his routine duty at Srinagar's Government Medical College, cardiologist Dr Irfan Bhat receives a video call from a doctor posted in a remote village in Kashmir. The caller talks about a suspected cardiac emergency and seeks guidance on how to handle the patient based on his ECG report.

After analysing the ECG online, Dr Bhat confirms that patient has a heart attack and quickly gives a line of treatment over the video call.

The cardiologist is part of India's largest virtual hospital in Kashmir- #Saveheart initiative- working though WhatsApp platform. it's providing treatment for heart attack cases in remote areas, at their doorstep.

“We analyse the ECG; we ensure there is a right treatment at the doorstep and patient is shifted to tertiary care hospital after thrombosis and after receiving first aid. That makes a difference in deciding fate of a patient, “said Dr Irfan Bhat, Cardiologist Government Medical College, Srinagar.

For the last seven years, Dr Bhat has handled hundreds of critical cardiac cases online, guiding medical practitioners in remote areas how to manage cardiac emergencies before they can reach specialised medical facility in Srinagar.

It works like this: As soon as a cardiac emergency reaches first medical contact in any area - the doctor uploads patients ECG on the Save Heart WhatsApp group. Immediately, a cardiologist on the group evaluates the ECG - guides the health official on how to handle the patient in the first golden hour.

The idea to start the online platform firmed up in 2015 after a cardiac emergency during the Amarnath yatra in Kashmir Himalayas. A WhatsApp call by a doctor at Baltal camp to a cardiologist in Srinagar helped save the Yatri, who had come from Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

“It was 130 km away from tertiary care hospital in Srinagar. It was not wise to shift the patient without receiving any treatment at Baltal camp. Dr Shama's, the Doctor who was posted there, communicated with us. We discussed the ECG and what's the right treatment to be given. The drug was available there -patient received the treatment and his life was saved,” said Dr Bhat.

Since then, 1200 doctors from across Kashmir and non- resident Kashmiri doctors from across the world have become part of the #SaveHeart group. The platform has already analysed over one lakh ECGs saved hundreds of lives.

Besides his regular duty, Dr Bhat occasionally travels to remote villages to see the patients handled via online mode. He says there can't be more satisfaction for him than seeing the smile on their face.

Dr Bhat belongs to a group of doctors in Kashmir who go beyond the call of their duty and have created India's largest virtual hospital. Without spending single rupee, they are handling cardiac emergencies at their doorstep and saving hundreds of lives every year.