Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, who has been undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai since September 22, suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, the hospital said in a statement.
“She is being treated and monitored by a team of experts, including pulmonologists, cardiologists and critical care specialists,” the release issued by hospital COO Subbiah Viswanathan said.
Later the hospital tweeted: “She was put on extracorporeal membrane heart assist device (a heart pump) and is being treated by a team of expert doctors and critical care specialists.” Dr Richard Beale from London has been consulted and he had concurred with the line of treatment by our cardiologists and pulmonologists. In another tweet, the hospital made an emotional appeal requesting all to pray for her good health.
Earlier, sources in the hospital said she was moved back to the intensive care unit from her room, where she was shifted to on November 19.
Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao was likely to visit the hospital on Sunday night, police sources said. Police beefed up security outside the hospital.
Minutes after the message about her being moved into the ICU following a cardiac arrest was flashed on the media, members from the AIADMK cadre gathered outside the hospital. They were seen making loud prayers. “She has fought even more bitter enemies. We are hoping and praying she will fight this one too,” one of the party members said. Several senior leaders visited temples to offer prayers to Lord Shiva.
68-year-old Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital on September 22 with complaints of “fever and dehydration.” She was later put on ventilator and treated with antibiotics for infection and lung congestion. Later, doctors did a tracheostomy – made a hole in the wind pipe near the neck – so they didn’t have to put the tube through her mouth.
A team of doctors including UK-based intensivist Dr Richard Beale and doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, comprising pulmonologist Dr G Khilnani, anaesthesiologist Dr Anjan Trikha and cardiologist Dr Nitish Nayak, joined the team of doctors at Apollo Hospitals to treat her. Soon, she was on a regular, but high-protein, diet and given passive and active physiotherapy.
On November 19, doctors moved her to a personalised room which had facilities of an intensive care unit, including respiratory support. The room was a step-down intensive care unit, a kind of bridge between the intensive care unit and special ward or home. Besides ventilation, it was equipped with medicines and equipment for emergency care.
Last week, Apollo Hospitals chairman Dr Prathap C Reddy said Jayalalithaa she was using a speaking aid as it was difficult for her to speak with the tracheostomy.