Dr Prathap Kumar N: A Humane Heart Proliferating Humankind’s Heartcare

Dr Prathap Kumar N
Dr Prathap Kumar N

A noble spirit walking amongst us mortal, giving us hope, health, our dreams, and our life back is more than a human being. Yet, staying humble in his approach, and noble in his attitude a Dr like Prathap Kumar N keeps on carrying out his noblest mission of caring for everyone and proliferating global healthcare.

For this true humane heart amidst humankind, Madhu Chakkalakkal, one of the patients from Trissur, Kerala, praises Dr Prathap by saying, “Heard of human gods. But a doctor had once appeared before us as God. None other than our beloved Dr Prathap Kumar. I am talking about a very serious illness I had at the age of 42 and Dr Prathap took me by the hand and brought me back to life.”

Kiran Sach, another patient of his says, “Trusted and gifted hands by God,” while Reji John, from Kollam, Kerala testifies, “Me and my family always grateful to Dr. Prathap Kumar and his staff for his worthwhile services to poor people’s like me. I wish all the best to the hospital and all staff.”

Narendra Prasad from Bihar says, “On getting assurance from Dr. Prathap Kumar, we (me and my family) came from Bihar to Meditrina Hospital, Kollam and I underwent angioplasty. Now everything is fine and we are very much happy and thankful to Dr. Prathap Kumar and his team for doing this unbelievable thing and bringing me back to life.”

While Adv N. K. Premachandran, Member of Parliament, says in his praise, “The efforts taken by Dr. Prathap Kumar by co-operating with ESIC, Kollam for providing good quality treatment to economically backward patients, is really appreciable.”

The Kindest Heart of a Doctor

Here is another story of his selfless and compassionate care provided to the entire populace of Maldives.

A real visionary in its true meaning Dr Prathap is a great example of the Public Private Partnership that he has with Maldives’ Government at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Male. The patients from the Maldives used to come to southern states of India including Kerala and Tamil Nadu for their treatment needs as the medical facilities in that country were still developing. This meant that if a patient had a Heart Attack they had to be taken on a flight to cities like Trivandrum or countries like Singapore and Dubai for treatment. This not only was a very high financial burden to the government of Maldives but also turned fatal for most of the patients who got such acute medical conditions.

Dr Prathap understood this problem and when the right opportunity came, pitched for initiating an agreement for treating cardiology patients in the Maldives itself. Today after six years of partnership, regular visits, and multiple trainings, Maldives has its own cardiologists and is equipped with the best technologies in the world and its precision PCI percentage is among the top five countries in the world. The safety of procedures stands at par with most western countries. This has been a phenomenal achievement and Dr Prathap’s visionary mindset and perseverance have been the reason for this achievement.  

The most important moral value that people admire is the compassionate heart that Dr Prathap has. It’s this value of Compassion that drove Meditrina Hospitals to partner with governments to cater to the most backward and underprivileged class of citizens of this country. He has faced a lot of struggles to establish a sustainable model with Public Private Partnerships (PPP). The prices that prevail in these tie-ups are generally lesser than the National schemes like Ayushman Bharath, ESI, ECHS, CGHS, etc. In addition to this, there are a lot of nuances in dealing with government projects. He never quits despite all the hurdles that come across his path. His humble past and parents have been his inspiration in all that he does.

Dr Prathap believes that learning is a continuous process. A lot has changed in the field of Interventional cardiology from the time he started his practice around two decades back. But he made sure that he is always updated on the latest advancements in treatment methodologies and gives his full effort to learn newer techniques and adopt newer technologies for the betterment of patient outcomes. Imaging in coronary Interventions was a new idea that came up for optimizing results in angioplasty. Dr Prathap has been at the forefront of this technology and he has the highest experience in a technically challenging procedural type known as “Zero Contrast Angioplasty” which has been a lifesaving procedure for patients with renal impairment. Currently, he is a world leader in this mode of treatment and he is a sought-after personality to give lectures and teaches doctors around the world.

The Heart Matters the Most

Dr Prathap is specialized in Interventional Cardiology for both Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty procedures. He is among the most respected Cardiologists in India having more than 20 years of experience in Interventional Cardiology treating simple to complex Cardiac conditions. With his vast experience and expertise in the field, he has contributed immensely to the growth of Interventional Cardiology earning distinctive recognition and respect in the country.

Graduated in Medicine in 1988 from Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Dr Prathap Kumar N acquired his MD (Internal medicine) in 1992. A protagonist of the belief that the heart matters most, he went on to learn the ills of the heart and obtained DM (cardiology) in 1997 with a Fellowship in Interventional Cardiology from the University of Turin, Italy in 2002. Having gained the know-how, and whetting his skill with overseas trainings, Dr Prathap was instrumental in establishing the cardiology department in Benziger Hospital, an Interventional cardiology centre in Pariyaram Medical College and in PRS hospital, Thiruvananthapuram. He was a Director of Cathlab Services in Manipal Heart Foundation, Bengaluru.

All along, Dr Prathap nurtured a passionate desire to have dedicated cardiac centers across India to render specialized and affordable heart care. Dr Prathap is the Chief Interventional Cardiologist of Meditrina Group of Hospitals headquartered at Kollam, Kerala, India with units at Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad, Jamshedpur, Maldives. To his and his team’s credit, nearly more than 40000 balloon angioplasties, half of them complicated, were performed. Further, it is indeed a recognition, that Cardiac Centers are functioning in ESIC hospitals – Kollam, Civil Hospitals – Panchkula and Ambala, Gurugram, Faridabad, Azamgarh, and Dehradun in collaboration with Meditrina Hospitals Private Limited.

But the busy cardiologist Dr Prathap never ignored his indebtedness to society. Care for the unfortunate has prompted him to hold cardiac camps free of cost covering over one lac population over the years. He regularly performs angioplasties free of cost for the needy. Further, for patients who are less affordable, he offers cardiac procedures at a discount of 50% to 75% of the regular cost.

Dr Prathap has always thought for the unfortunate. In collaboration with the Malayalam newspaper ‘MATHRUBHUMI” Grihalekshmivedi, the special scheme “HRIDAYA SPARSHAM” was launched on 7 November 2016 at a much-reduced rate, to help the needy in a heart attack. With no assistance of any kind from the Government, this purely private endeavor is aimed at the public stricken with a heart attack if admitted within 12 hours of chest discomfort or symptoms of a heart attack. Primary Angioplasty, the best treatment for heart attack, has a success rate of 98% at the unbelievable rate of ₹30000/- which is less than 30% of the cost of angioplasty in major hospitals. The special feature of this scheme is that angioplasty can be free to the neediest upon donations from well-meaning society members.

Dr Prathap’s Notable Achievements:

  • Motivated recipient of the first Heart transplant in Kerala.
  • First to start invasive cardiac centre in tier II city.
  • First to start cardiac catheterization laboratory in Idukki district, the most remote and hilly district of Kerala.
  • First to start cardiac intervention in the Cooperative sector in India
  • First to start cardiac cathlab service by PPP model in an ESIC hospital in the country.
  • First to start cardiac cathlab in the country of the Republic of Maldives.
  • Maximum complex angioplasties are done with the highest success rate in the state.
  • Master operator award by Amrita institute and Business Excellence award by Times of India.
  • Created a complex coronary interventional course in the country.

The Goddess of Health and Longevity

Meditrina Group of Hospitals is one of the fastest-growing multi-specialty hospital chains in India. It was founded by Dr Prathap, an internationally renowned Interventional Cardiologist. His passion and never-tiring spirit have been the driving force behind this successful chain of hospitals. National Interventional Council of India has identified Meditrina Hospitals as the centre to perform 2nd highest number of Angioplasty Procedures among Private hospitals in India for three consecutive years.

Meditrina Hospitals runs its services across multiple states in India namely Kerala, Haryana, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand, and also has a centre in Maldives. Meditrina is also expanding to various African countries including Kenya.

Dr Prathap is well known for the complex procedures that he performs and he is often sought after by patients who are rejected by most Interventional Cardiologists due to the complexity of the procedures. He is often the final hope to these patients who are in despair. Trained under one of the authorities in the field of Interventional Cardiology, Dr Imad Sheiban at Italy, Dr Prathap attributes his success to the lessons that he learned from Dr Sheiban during his initial days of Interventional Cardiology training in Italy. Most of these complex subsets like Left Main Interventions, Chronic Total Occlusion (CTO), Calcified lesion management, etc., were not being performed in India during the time that he returned from Italy.

Today Dr Prathap gets regularly invited to countries like Malaysia, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Philippines, Tanzania, etc., for training Interventional Cardiologists. Also, he is a regular visiting faculty at some of the most renowned Institutes in India including BJ Medical College Ahmedabad, Sri Nagar Medical College, Baroda Heart Institute, Government Hospital Madurai, Government Hospital Coimbatore, Medica Hospital Kolkata, etc., to impart knowledge and perform highly complex interventional procedures.

Dr Prathap finds pleasure in imparting knowledge to fellow cardiologists. Apart from conducting well-attended training programs, he has initiated many forums and one of the most prominent ones being Indo Japanese CTO Club (IJCTO). Dr Prathap is the Founding member of IJCTO and along with three of his cardiology peers started this forum in 2013, to address the needs of Interventional Cardiologists who intend to pursue this procedure. CTO Intervention is considered to be the most challenging and time-consuming procedure in Interventional Cardiology. Japanese are supposed to be the world leaders in this kind of procedure. Dr Prathap is considered someone who has equally good skills as a Japanese operator and hence is regularly invited to countries like Japan and the European continent to give lectures on topics related to CTO Interventions. IJCTO organizes Annual meetings and is one of the best-attended scientific meetings of Interventional Cardiologists.

The year 2022 has been a very special year for Dr Prathap, where he has had the opportunity to lead many scientific organizations. He is currently the Chairman (2022,2023) for National Interventional Council (NIC). NIC is the interventional arm of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI), established to provide a forum for Interventional Cardiologists of India. It is estimated that there are currently more than 3000 Interventional Cardiologists in the country.

Apart from that, he is the Scientific Chairman for Indo Japanese CTO Club (IJCTO), ICCK (Interventional Cardiology Council of Kerala). He is also the organizing secretary for the Society of Coronary Imaging and Physiology (SCIP) 2022.

A Mind Full of Humanity

Sharing his opinion on the adoption of modern techs like AI and ML in healthcare, Dr Prathap says that Meditrina Hospital Kollam was the first private hospital in Kerala to invest in an OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) console. “We procured the machine in 2015 and ever since been a leader in the Coronary Imaging space. Today OCT consoles are equipped with Artificial Intelligence and have the potential to assist clinicians in making more informed decisions,” he informs. The Machine Learning ability of these systems is getting improved with more procedures that are being performed. Being at the forefront of technologies like these ensures that the company stays relevant in the field of cardiology and is all set to continue to lead this space in years to come.

One of the most difficult subsets to treat in a coronary blood vessel is calcified lesions. A key advancement in treating such complex lesions in recent times has been the introduction of Intravascular Lithotripsy (IVL). IVL is a technology where multiple lithotripsy emitters are mounted on a traditional catheter platform which delivers sonic pressure waves to circumferentially modify calcium. He expresses, “We are proud of the fact that we run some of the best training programs in such therapies to Interventional cardiologists inside and outside of India.”

Stating the challenges, they had to overcome, Dr Prathap says that inflation is a serious issue that the world and India, in particular, is facing. With the US Dollar getting stronger, the cost of devices and imported medicines are on a rise. All expenses are also showing an increasing trend. With the rise in costs, it becomes very difficult to maintain the status quo in procedural rates. He puts, “Despite best efforts from our end to control costs and build a leaner system, the external environmental pressures compel us to increase the cost of procedures. But, this is never an easy decision. We sincerely hope that patients understand this and would have an accommodative mentality towards these increased costs. Unlike in the past, we see a good improvement in the number of patients covered under medical insurance.” The only way in which these rising costs can be managed by patients is by getting covered under Medical Insurance. With the advent of corporates, there is a good uptake for medical insurance. “Still, we would also want to emphasize the need of taking private medical insurance to take care of the rising medical costs,” he suggests.

Fostering Global Heart-Care

Talking about the cardiology solutions’ vitality and expected advancements in the future, Dr Parthap mentions that like any field in medicine Cardiology is also getting better by the day. “The most advanced techniques of PTCA are being performed in India and today our country has a significant representation in the global arena. A lot of our Cardiologists are invited outside India for scientific deliberations for the latest techniques in Cardiology.”

He furthers that in the field of Cardiology, they see interventional procedures like Transcatheter Valve replacements (TAVR, TMVR, Mitraclip) being commonly performed in India. A few years back these procedures could only be performed through Open Heart surgeries. Now, these procedures are becoming less invasive and safer. Interventional cardiology has simplified a lot of cardiac procedures and hence more patients are getting benefitted.

In his advice to budding aspirants, Dr Prathap says that for every entrepreneur who aspires to venture into the Cardiology space, their motto should be to help a patient suffering from heart ailments. Entrepreneurship is a nice word from the outside. But every moment of your life you would be tested with challenges from multiple angles. Unless you are very clear about the “Why”, you wouldn’t be able to proceed further. As they say “When the Why is clear, you will have answers to How!”. Despite all challenges and failures that come across, you will be able to move forward.

Sharing his plans, he says, “We are planning to develop cardiac care in African countries, especially in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. Treatment is not adequately available in these countries. Our ultimate aim is to reach out to the needy.”


Patient Testimonials:

  • Suni, Kollam, Kerala – “After undergoing a successful angioplasty done by Dr Prathap Kumar now I am alright and returned to work as I was before. It’s a new life for me. I appreciate Dr Prathap Kumar and all staff of Meditrina hospital.”
  • Jayaprakash, Kollam – “I am always following your advices and instructions as I know that you have saved my life. Thank you, so much dear sir. Stay Blessed.”
  • Gregori Paul KJ – “My angioplasty treatment was done in 2010 by Dr Prathap Kumar, His fingers and heart, attitude, kindness and behaviour towards patients, the optimism poured into the minds of patients really has made him an instrument of God to do such extraordinary service to the society. May the Almighty bless Dr Prathap and his entire Team to continue their efforts for the common good!”
  • Kamal George – “The gentleman cardiologist, haven’t met a person like Dr Prathap who can take away all your fears with his mesmerizing way of making every patient at ease. No matter how grave the problem is he has the solution. I surely recommend him to everyone. Thumbs up to such a wonderful human being. All the best in all that you do doctor.”

In Dr Prathap’s Excellency:

  • Best complication case award for JIM Conference 2020, Milan, Italy
  • World Medical Council Excellence Award Healthcare 2019
  • Medicare Summit 2019 award for Best Cardiologist
  • Trivandrum Healthcare Leadership Award 2019
  • Leadership Award in Super Speciality Hospital in Jharkhand from Her Highness Smt. Droupadi  Murmu (Governor of Jharkhand, presently our beloved President) in 2017
  • Vivekananda Samskarika Samithi Award 2015
  • Gandhibhavan best Cardiologist Award 2013
  • Rajiv Gandhi Samskarika Samithi Award
  • Master Operator Award – Best interventional Cardiologist from the prestigious Healthcare Institute Amritha Institute of Medical Science, Kochi 2012
  • Business Excellence Award 2011 from Times of India, a prestigious Indian National Newspaper.
  • 2011 EIB Game Changer Award from Times of India, a prestigious Indian National Newspaper

Related Posts