Renowned gynaecologist on morning jog collapses, dies of heart attack

Dr Rakesh Sinha, the first doctor to bring minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques to India, suffered acute heart attack while practicing for Mumbai Marathon at Joggers Park

Renowned city gynaecologist Dr Rakesh Sinha passed away in Bandra’s Holy Family Hospital on the morning of December 26. The 60-year-old doctor, who was the first to bring minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques to India, was declared dead on arrival.

Sinha, who has been participating in Mumbai Marathon for past few years, was practicing at Joggers Park in Bandra when he suddenly collapsed and was taken to hospital.

His death has left doctors community in shock as they remember him as a good orator and sports enthusiast.

“It is an irreparable loss to society. I am totally shattered. He was very health-conscious and a talented surgeon. It came as a shock that while preparing for Mumbai Marathon he collapsed and died,” said Dr Nandita Palshetkar, infertility expert at Lilavati Hospital and President of Mumbai Obstetric and Gynaecological Society (MOGS).

Apart from running in Mumbai Marathon, Sinha had also participated in international marathon four times and had completed 42.195 km each time.

“We are shocked with his demise. One could not have been more perfect as a human than him. He was an author, a great laparoscopic surgeon who taught me a lot. It is a huge loss to us and world of endoscopy,” said Dr Nikhil Datar, a gynaecologist, Cloudnine Hospital.

Agreeing to Datar, Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, Bariatric Surgeon, Saifee Hospital, said Sinha was a motivator and good friend.

“He was a superstar laparoscopic surgeon, educator, motivator and a very good friend to many. His untimely death is a tragic loss for entire generation of young Indian gynaecologists,” said Lakdawala.

Sinha has held  two Guinness World Record – one, for having removed largest fibroid weighing 3.4 kg laparoscopically and second, for having taken out heaviest uterus weighing 4.1 kg laparoscopically.

Dr Sudhir Pillai, cardiologist at PD Hinduja Hospital said it is a myth that a person who is fitness conscious will suffer heart attack.

“Fitness has no relation with acute heart attack. There are many reasons for it and most common is rapid heart beating. Normal heart beating is 70-80 per minute. While running, heart beating is 130-140 per minute. Rapid heart beating, which needs medical attention, is 300-400 per minute,” said Pillai.

He said other factors like stress levels, work and life relationship, family history also needs to be taken into consideration in such cases.

According to experts, cardiologists, critical intensivists, oncosurgeons, physicians are more prone to heart diseases as they don’t get enough sleep, lead a stressful life and have inappropriate food intake.

“Acute cardiac attacks cannot be predicted. Doctors generally have long working hours, sleep less and lead a very stressful life. It is very necessary that one does regular moderate exercise. Intense work out should be avoided,” said Dr Ajay Chaurasia, cardiologist, BYL Nair Hospital.

Many things increase your risk for heart disease:

  •  Men in their 40s have higher risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) than women. But as women get older (especially after they reach menopause), their risk increases to almost equal to that of men’s
  • Bad genes (heredity) can increase your risk. You are more likely to develop the condition if someone in your family has a history of heart disease , especially if they had it before age 50. Your risk for CHD goes up the older you get
  • Diabetes is a strong risk factor for heart disease
  • High blood pressure increases your risks of coronary artery disease and heart failure
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels. Your LDL (bad) cholesterol should be as low as possible, and your HDL (good) cholesterol should be as high as possible to reduce risk of CHD
  • Metabolic syndrome refers to high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, excess body fat around waist, and increased insulin levels. People with this group of problems have an increased chance of getting heart disease
  • Smokers have much higher risk of heart disease than nonsmokers
  • Chronic kidney disease can increase your risk
  • Already having atherosclerosis or hardening of arteries in another part of your body (examples are stroke and abdominal aortic aneurysm) increases your risk of having CHD
  • Other risk factors include alcohol abuse, not exercising, and having excessive amount of stress

Related links 

103-year-old marathoner to show younger generation how it is done
Running the Mumbai Marathon? Here is all you need to do pre, during and post the race
Keep these things in mind if you’re running the Mumbai Marathon despite a heart surgery
‘Heart surgery not the end of life,’ says 60-year-old set to run Mumbai Marathon for eighth time
Do not give up, there is always light at the end of the tunnel

  • ll

    Dr Nitu Mandke.
    SAP CEO.
    TCS guy who ran Thane marathon.
    and now Dr Sinha.

    There seems to be a pattern.

    My non-medico guess. All are middle aged who started working out or running late in their lives and had a very successful careers (read lack of sleep).

    There are three pillars to fitness - Exercise, Diet and Sleep.