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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 121-122

Sivaramakrishna Iyer Padmavati (1917–2020)

1 Department of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Paediatric Cardiology, Amrita, School of Medicine, Kochi, Kerala, India

Date of Submission13-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance16-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication15-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rajiv Narang
Department of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_175_20

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How to cite this article:
Narang R, Kumar R K. Sivaramakrishna Iyer Padmavati (1917–2020). J Med Evid 2020;1:121-2

How to cite this URL:
Narang R, Kumar R K. Sivaramakrishna Iyer Padmavati (1917–2020). J Med Evid [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Aug 7];1:121-2. Available from: http://www.journaljme.org/text.asp?2020/1/2/121/303564

Recently, COVID-19 claimed a very important life – that of Dr. I. S. Padmavati, an eminent cardiologist of India. Dr Padmavati was 103 years old and had contributed immensely to the field of cardiology in her career spanning many decades. She was a pioneer in more ways than one in the field of medicine in India and set a number of examples for others to follow. Her seniority is evident from the fact that more than half a century back, in 1966, Dr Padmavati was the Secretary General of the 5th World Congress of Cardiology, New Delhi.[1] She had also been a member of the Expert Committee on Cardiovascular Diseases of the World Health Organization for about 30 years and of the International Society and Federation of Cardiology Committee for worldwide control of rheumatic fever (RF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD), in addition to many other important government and professional committees.[2]

Dr Padmavati was born in Myanmar (formerly British Burma) in 1917 where she received her early education and graduated from Rangoon Medical College. Subsequently, she went to Europe (the United Kingdom and Sweden) for postgraduate medicine and cardiology training. Later, she went to the USA (John Hopkins and Harvard universities) where she worked with Paul Dudley White, Helen Taussig and Paul Wood.[3],[4] Paul White later helped her set up the All India Heart Foundation and mentioned her twice in his book 'My Life and Medicine'.[5]

On her return to India, she joined Lady Hardinge Medical College as a lecturer in 1953, where she established the department of cardiology with the equipment gifted by Rockefeller Foundation.[6] In 1967, she moved to Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) where she set up the first-ever coronary care unit in Delhi at G. B. Pant Hospital. She later became the Director, MAMC, and associated Irwin (now Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narain) and G. B. Pant Hospitals.[7] During her illustrious career, she also served as the President of the National Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Cardiological Society of India. In 1978, she retired as the Director/Principal of MAMC.

She contributed extensively to the field of RF and RHD, cor pulmonale as well as the epidemiology of hypertension and ischaemic heart disease. She played a key role in the national infrastructure for RHD control and prophylaxis. Her work was published in reputed journals and quoted in many textbooks.

In 1988 (10 years after her retirement), in an interview published in the National Medical Journal of India, she mentioned a number of points which are both interesting and relevant even in 2020.[3] About professional women, she said that she did not face any bias at any time in India while there was much more prejudice in the West. She admired Indians like Rustom Jal Vakil who put India on the world map by introducing Rauwolfia to the Western world. She said that research was important but difficult in India because of poor funding. She saw a great scope for Indian companies manufacturing cardiac drugs and exporting to other countries.

About students, she felt they were 'undertaught and overexamined'. She felt that there should be more emphasis on the quality of teaching. The classes should have lesser number of students and for this, peripheral hospitals should also take part in teaching. Private practice in government hospitals was coming in the way of medical teaching and research. She emphasised the importance of promoting merit. She added that government doctors should be adequately paid and supported for teaching and research work. She put great importance on maintaining professional excellence through continued medical education. ? She insisted that medical professionals should also raise their voice for the betterment of medical services. She pointed out that 'Pastures are not always greener elsewhere' and one must make the most of the available resources.

Her approach was holistic and not limited to cardiology. She emphasised the importance of prevention of diseases and primary healthcare, both in rural and urban areas, so as to avoid overcrowding in hospitals. She saw suffering caused by other diseases also such as infections, malnutrition, goitre, anaemia, mother and child health and blindness due to Vitamin A deficiency. She emphasised greater training and recruitment of nurses, health assistants and paramedics. She even mentioned the importance of family planning, safe drinking water and environmental sanitation.

Dr Padmavati founded the All India Heart Foundation in 1962 and the National Heart Institute in 1981 where she continued to work after retirement.[8] She used to attend conferences even at her advanced age. Often, she used to stand and give lectures, ignoring the chair arranged by the organisers for her to sit while speaking. Dr Padmavati was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1967 and Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award in 1992.[9],[10] May God grant eternal peace to Dr S. I. Padmavati.

  References Top

Smith KS. Fifth world congress of cardiology. Br Heart J 1967;29:636-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
WHO Collaborating Centres in India: Non-Communicable Diseases & Mental Health. Available from: https://web.archive.org/web/20100612235352/http://whoindia.org/EN/Section54_880.htm. [Last accessed on 2020 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 2
Padmavati S. Eminent Indians in medicine. Natl Med J India 1988;1:157-60.  Back to cited text no. 3
The Women of Hopkins: Sivaramakrishna Iyer Padmavati. Available from: https://www.womenofhopkins.com/padmavati. [Last accessed on 2020 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 4
White PD. My Life and Medicine: An Autobiographical Memoir. Publishers Gambit; 1971.  Back to cited text no. 5
Dr S I Padmavati, Lady Hardinge Medical College. Available from: http://lhmc-hosp.gov.in/WriteReadData/l892s/85419212411529494653.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 6
Maulana Azad Medical College: National Award Winners. Available from: https://web.archive.org/web/20110721151013/http://www.mamc.ac.in/national_award.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 7
All India Heart Foundation. Available from: http://www.nationalheartinstitute.com/background.php. [Last accessed on 2020 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 8
Padma Awards, Ministry of Home Affairs,Government of India. Available from: http://www.dashboard-padmaawards.gov.in/Year=1992-1992&Field=Medicine&Award=Padma%20Vibhushan. [Last accessed on 2020 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 9
Padma Awards, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Available from: http://www.dashboard-padmaawards.gov.in/Year=1967-1967&Field=Medicine&Award=Padma%20Bhushan. [Last accessed on 2020 Sep 10].  Back to cited text no. 10


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