GURUGRAM: For 80-year-old Umed Singh, walking again after a failing heart and a paralytic condition, was like a dream.

Suffering from cervical myelopathy, a medical condition in which pressure on the spinal cord hampers transfer of electric signals to hands and legs, resulting in stiff limbs with weakness and ultimately paralysis, Singh was bed-ridden and dependent on others for even feeding and attending to his private needs.

Having consulted several spine surgeons, he was rejected for spine surgery due to his failing heart condition. He had suffered three major cardiac surgeries in the past, including a cardiac bypass.

“Debilitating spinal cord condition left me almost paralysed for the past year, till I underwent life-transforming surgery by a team of doctors

at a city-based hospital last Saturday,” he told TOI.

Walking with the help of a stick, Singh said: “It’s a new life for me as I’m relieved of pain and able to do my activities independently.”

Himanshu Tyagi, senior consultant and orthopaedic surgeon, said, “The biggest challenge in carrying out his spine surgery was his weak heart, which could only pump 25% of its capacity of blood.”

Tyagi said he tried to complete the surgery quickly with minimal blood loss, as Singh’s heart could have collapsed any minute during the procedure.

A tense surgery for the team of doctors, it was completed in 50 minutes with less than 300ml blood lost, he added. Statistics show cervical myelopathy affects 4% of the population above the age of 65 years.

Head of orthopaedic spine surgery at Artemis Hospital, Hitesh Garg said Singh’s heart was too weak to take the stress of surgery, but he agreed to undergo it. In most cases, patients avoid treatment, and eventually lose control of their hands and legs, becoming bedridden without control over their bowel movements.

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