Actor Vivekh suffers cardiac arrest, put on ECMO

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(Eds: Adds reax of CM, Rajinikanth) Chennai, Apr 16 (PTI) The health condition of popular Tamil actor Vivekh, who suffered a cardiac arrest due to one hundred per cent blockage in a heart vessel, is critical and he has been put on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) support - to circulate blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream - doctors attending on him said.

ECMO provides heart-lung bypass support outside of the patient.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth and veteran actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan wished actor Vivekh a speedy recovery.

The 59-year old comedian will be closely monitored for the next 24 hours and his sudden downturn in health has nothing to do with the Covaxin shot that he was administered on Thursday, said Dr. Raju Sivasamy, vice president of SIMS hospital here, where the actor is undergoing treatment.

Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan, who along with health officials, visited the hospital and interacted with the medical team attending on Vivekh, said there was no Covid vaccine reaction on the actor who had tested negative for thevirus.

'Usually, a vaccine reaction occurs within 15 to 30 minutes. Such is not his case. His smiling visage when he took the shots yesterday along with his team is still fresh in my memory,' Radhakrishnan told reporters at the hospital.

He claimed six people had taken the shots along with Vivekh.

'Nearly 23,000 people have been administered the Covaxin at the hospital here and 5.68 lakh throughout Tamil Nadu, so far. There has been no adverse reaction anywhere,' the health secretary said.

On Thursday, about 830 people were given Covaxin at the Omandurar Government hospital where the actor took the first dose.

'He had volunteered to have the dose administered at the government hospital so that others could get inspired and insulate themselves from coronavirus,' Radhakrishnan said.

Vivekh was brought to the hospital at 11 AM Friday in an unconscious condition by his family members and immediately after admission, the emergency and cardiac team resuscitated him.

Angioplasty and stenting was performed as one of the critical blood vessels in his left coronary artery - left anterior descending artery - had a block.

'It took nearly an hour for the doctors to remove the block. He was then put on an ECMO. His is an acute coronary syndrome with cardiogenic shock and not related to the vaccine,' Dr Sivasamy told reporters and added that test and CT reports showed that the actor did not have COVID-19.

The actor underwent emergency coronary angiogram followed by angioplasty.

'This is a separate cardiac event. It may not be due to COVID vaccination,' Dr Vijayakumar Chockken, director, medical services said.

Terming the actor's health condition as 'unfortunate', the Health secretary wished Vivekh, who is Tamil Nadu's ambassador for creating public health awareness, a speedy recovery.

Vivekh, a Padma Shree recipient, has acted with top Tamil heroes, including Rajinikanth, Vijay and Ajith Kumar.

He has also appeared as the lead artiste in a couple of movies and has been involved in social causes, including afforestation.

Expressing dismay over the actor suffering a sudden cardiac arrest, Palaniswami said he was very upset to hear the news of Vivekh getting admitted to the hospital.

'I pray to Almighty that he recovers quickly and returns home,' Palaniswami tweeted.

Rajnikanth who took to the microblogging site to convey his wishes for speedy recovery, said, 'I pray to the almighty for speed recovery of my dear friend Vivek.' Pointing out that the popular comedian got himself vaccinated at the government hospital here to allay the fears of the public on the Covid vaccine, Haasan said he wished his 'friend to get well soon.' PTI JSP SA SS PTI PTI