Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits the Almazov Federal Heart, Blood and Endocrinology Centre in St Petersburg and its Institute of Perinatology and Pediatrics


Vladimir Putin visited some of the centre's in-patient wards as well as the pediatric surgery section.

The director of the centre, Yevgeni Shlyakhto, told Mr Putin about the clinic's history, the new medical technology developed there and the centre's innovative activity and research projects. He said that the scope of medical treatment provided by the centre has grown considerably in the last few years: in 2008 about 6,500 patients were treated there and in 2010 - 14,663. The centre began to perform heart transplants in 2009.  

According to Shlyakhto, the decision to build a perinatology centre at the Almazov Centre was made with a view to treat pregnant women with heart, blood and endocrinology diseases. In addition, treatment is available to women, who have undergone cardiac surgery in the last 10-15 years and now want to have children.

"Do I understand you correctly, that you will offer women the option to give birth when it was previously impossible for them based on medical indications?" asked the Prime Minister.

 "There are hundreds of women in this position," replied the director.

"Thousands, five thousand in St Petersburg alone," Putin clarified.

The department head of assisted reproductive technology (and President of the Russian Association of Human Reproduction), Vladislav Korsak, told the Prime Minister that they conducted 450 IVF cycles and that 216 children were born last year.

Vladimir Putin also visited the angiography surgery unit where women who are at risk of hemorrhage are treated. The equipment allows doctors to not only save a woman's life, but to help her have children in the future. The unit also includes life-sustaining equipment for babies with very low birth weight. The centre is expected to nurse babies with a birth weight as low as 500 grams. The centre also includes surgery units where babies under one year can be operated on and where prenatal operations can be performed.

In the hematology department, Mr Putin was shown how new technology is being applied, specifically, how doctors can monitor recuperating surgery patients with video cameras and even speak to the patient if necessary. The surveillance equipment helps keep ward disturbances to a minimum. The doctor suggested Mr Putin try the equipment himself. Having been informed that the patient's name was Edward and that he had undergone a bone marrow transplant operation on Monday, Mr Putin said into the microphone: "This is Putin. Good afternoon. How do you feel?" The patient answered that he was feeling better already. "Excellent, I wish you a speedy recovery," said the prime minister.

Shlyakhto introduced surgeon Mikhail Gordeyev to Vladimir Putin, "There are only three such unique surgeons in Russia: in Moscow, in Novosibirsk and ..." started the director. "And at your centre," continued Mr Putin.

The prime minister was told that the centre has a lot of new surgical equipment including robotics technology. "The surgeon is inside a special module. Cameras send 3D images and he or she is able to perform virtual surgery," said Gordeyev. In his opinion, in the future similar equipment will allow long distance surgery, but so far the problem is a signal delay.

Vladimir Putin was interested in a surgeon's salary. "Around 200,000 roubles a month," said the doctor. "About 300,000 roubles," the director corrected.

The prime minister also asked about the mortality rate. "Less than 1.36%, and if you consider only scheduled operations, below 1%," reported Shlyakhto. "This is an average European rate," noted Mr Putin.

At the end of his tour of the Centre Vladimir Putin viewed a model of the medical-rehabilitation complex now under construction. It will have 24 floors, a conference centre and a helipad. The project is costing around 5 billion roubles. The Centre will use state-of-the-art transplant techniques, including heart with lung and kidney with pancreas transplantation.

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