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Mumbai Marathon: 2 suffer cardiac arrest, over 3,000 ill

Amit Kasat suffered a cardiac arrest while attempting to complete the half marathon and doctors had to administer electric shocks to revive him; over 3,000 runners needed medical attention after complaining of dehydration and cramps

As thousands of enthusiastic Mumbaikars thronged the streets of the city to participate in the much-anticipated Standard Chartered Mumbai marathon on Sunday morning, several of them had to be rushed to the medical base camps in Fort. Of the 39,510 who ran in the event, over 3,000 were in need of medical attention after attempting to complete the gruelling races.

While eight out of 10 persons who were hospitalised suffered from severe dehydration, one runner had a cardiac arrest while he attempted to complete the half marathon (21 km). He had to be rushed to Marine Lines’ Bombay Hospital in the morning. The runner, Amit Kasat (37), is now undergoing treatment in the ICU of the privately-run hospital and was also put on ventilator support.

A runner had to be stretchered away after he suffered dehydration during the marathon
A runner had to be stretchered away after he suffered dehydration during the marathon

Doctors at the hospital say that his condition is critical and will be kept under observation in the ICU for a few more days. “He had been practising for the half marathon for the last seven months and ran 10 km every day. He has always been a fitness freak,” said his wife Sonia. Kasat suffered a cardiac arrest near Ambassador Hotel while he was running from Bandra to CST.

A runner seeks medical treatment for his knee during the run. The number of people taken to hospital this year doubled as compared to last year. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi, Shadab Khan
A runner seeks medical treatment for his knee during the run. The number of people taken to hospital this year doubled as compared to last year. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi, Shadab Khan

“My husband had to be administered four electric shocks before his heart started beating again. He is currently on ventilator and is unconscious. I am also worried about the effect the cardiac arrest has had on his brain function. His heart stopped beating for 20 minutes,” added a worried Sonia.

Dr B K Goyal, head of cardiology department at Bombay Hospital, confirmed, “Amit’s heart had stopped beating for 20 minutes due to which we had to massage his chest and give him shocks to start the regular heartbeat again. The photographer’s condition is also very critical and both of them are unconscious and on ventilator support.”

“He was immediately rushed to the hospital around 8.30 am. Another person present at the marathon also suffered a cardiac arrest on Marine Drive while clicking pictures, and is undergoing treatment in the ICU of Bombay Hospital. He wasn’t a participant but a photographer,” said Dr Vijay D’Silva, medical director and director of critical care of Asian Heart hospital, which was the medical partner for the marathon.

Many in ICU
The patient, Ashok Viraj Kowale (38), is also in a critical condition and has been kept on ventilator support, said doctors at the hospital. The photographer’s relatives refused to speak to this correspondent.
Another runner, Atul Singh, is recuperating in the ICU of the Marine Lines hospital after suffering from severe dehydration. Doctors at the hospital said his condition is improving. The Mahalaxmi resident had participated in the half marathon for the second time, after successfully completing the 21 km marathon last year, said his wife Swati.

Cramps and bruises
Doctors observed that a majority of the 3,000 runners had muscle cramps, dehydration and other symptoms like exhaustion. “A few of the patients treated in our medical base camps were vomiting and sustained minor injuries like bruises and cuts. However, 18-20 marathoners were in need of intravenous saline hydration. This year, we saw more people who had to be treated for severe dehydration,” said Dr D’Silva.

Bombay Hospital admitted a total of six patients two for cardiac arrests and four for dehydration. The other four participants were admitted in Jaslok and Saifee hospitals in south Mumbai due to dehydration. All patients were males between the ages of 28-45. Their condition is stable as of now. A total of 60 beds were set up in Fort, along with seven medical aid stations, eight ambulances and seven men on bikes to provide first-aid care to marathoners.

Numbers doubled
The number of people hospitalised after this year’s marathon was twice as much as last year. In 2013, only five runners were hospitalised — one participant, a 52-year-old man, suffered from cardiac arrest during the half marathon, while the others had acute dehydration or other such symptoms. While 9,000 more people participated for the marathon this year as compared to 2013, the number of participants treated in the medical base camps was around 3,300 in 2013. Thus, fewer participants were in need of medical attention this year.

Hospitals speak
Dr Sagar Sakale, spokesperson of Bombay Hospital, told MiD DAY, “The two patients who suffered from cardiac arrest are still on ventilator support and their condition is critical. Singh’s condition, however, is getting better while the condition of the three patients with dehydration in the general ward is stable.” Dr Tarang Gianchandani, acting CEO of Jaslok Hospital, said three male patients were brought to the hospital for dehydration and exhaustion. “They were discharged last evening after undergoing treatment, as their condition was stable,” informed Dr Gianchandani.

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