‘South Asians at four-times greater risk of heart disease’

Dr. Vemuri S. Murthy demonstrates CPR training to US Congressman Bill Foster and Sudhakar Dalela, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Washington DC

Indian American doctor on a mission to save lives in USA and India through resuscitation education and training

By Tannistha Ganguly

South Asians are at four-times greater risk of heart disease than their Western counterparts with a greater chance of having a heart attack before 50, according to a leading Indian American heart specialist.

Heart attacks strike South Asian men and women at younger ages, and as a result, both morbidity and mortality are higher among them compared to any other ethnic group, says distinguished Chicago physician Dr. Vemuri S. Murthy citing evidence-based studies.

“South Asians tend to develop heart disease ten years earlier than other groups,” says Dr. Murthy, an advocate of community and physician resuscitation education and training for more than three decades in USA and India.

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“Heart disease is the number one Global Public Health problem,” Dr. Murthy said ahead of “World Heart Day” being observed on Sept. 29 this year with the objective of raising awareness of heart disease and to promote Healthy Heart lifestyles.

“Almost one in three among South Asians may die from heart disease before 65 years of age,” says Dr. Murthy who has taken upon himself the life-long mission of saving lives through effective preventive measures.

In India, heart disease remains the number one cause of death, he says. Common risk factors are smoking and a diet high in sugar, salt, refined grains, and fat.

A large number of South Asians appear to have “insulin resistance”, a condition in which the body does not utilize insulin efficiently, resulting in Diabetes, which leads to a significant number of heart-related problems, he says.

Lack of adequate exercise, stress, and genetic predisposition are also contributing factors,” adds Dr. Murthy who has served as the President of the Chicago Medical Society and the Indian American Medical Association, Illinois.

Currently adjunct faculty in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, he is the Founder of Chicago Medical Society’s Community CPR Project Saving More Illinois Lives through Education (SMILE).

Project SMILE programs are offered in Illinois at various community events and were commended by international dignitaries, members of the US Congress, Illinois Governor, and legislators, and heads of Indian missions in the US.

Dr. Murthy is a guide and co-investigator of a ground-breaking Indian Resuscitation Research Project and Cardiac Arrest Registry, Warangal Area Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Registry 2018, based on an international format.

He contributed to “CPR” and “Women’s Heart Health” videos and educational articles in news media and is actively involved with Indo-US collaborated comprehensive Cardiac Care Projects.

Dr. Murthy served the American Heart Association as national and international faculty, member of the International Committee, advisor to AHA International Training Centers and AHA liaison to medical organizations in USA.

He co-chaired programs at the AHA scientific sessions and delivered resuscitation-based lectures at prestigious US medical institutions. He also contributed to AHA’s “Saving Children’s Lives” project in Gujarat, India.

AHA leadership recognized his decades of service: “For Volunteer Leadership in Support of Lifesaving Mission of the AHA and its Emergency Cardiovascular Care Programs”.

A Visiting Professor of Indian Medical Universities, Dr. Murthy has been promoting resuscitation courses for nearly three decades in India. With his guidance, thousands of physicians, medical students, and nurses were trained by the Indian Instructor Faculty.

He pioneered an “Indian Medical University Resuscitation Education and Training Model” at Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences, Andhra Pradesh, in 2012.

He conducted simulation-based advanced Resuscitation Workshops with international faculty and guided mass community CPR events.
He chaired several Resuscitation Conventions in India and organized workshops at prestigious Indian Medical Institutions such as AIIMS, New Delhi.

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An alumnus of Guntur Medical College, Guntur and All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi (General Surgery), Dr. Murthy has been hailed as a “Pioneer of Resuscitation Medicine in India.”

His contributions to global health, resuscitation medicine and community service have been widely recognized with numerous awards.

Dr. Murthy was honored with a Medal from US Congressmen as Global Champion of Resuscitation, Lifetime Achievement Award and Distinguished Physician Award from the Indian American Medical Association, Illinois.

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