Swaroup Anand, 23, from Bangalore, is fully conscious as he undergoes open-heart surgery. An epidural to the neck, administered at the city’s Wockhardt Hospital, has numbed his body. Dr Vivek Jawali pioneered the technique ten years ago and has recently released a tutorial on DVD which gives a step-by-step guide to the procedure – sorry, but you can only get a copy if you’re a surgeon or an anaesthetist.

Lead surgeon Dr Vivek Jawali had performed more than 600 operations this way since 1999.

‘The patients are drowsy so they can be aroused but are also able to drift into sleep. ‘If we need them to cough or breathe more deeply to clear air from their heart they can respond. This makes the procedure a lot easier to perform,’ Dr Jawali said.

As the patients are awake the doctors also have a better idea of how the body is reacting to the surgery from their respiratory system to their brain function.

Dr Jawali added that patients did not report feeling afraid during the operation.

‘We give them headphones so they can listen to their favorite music,’ he further added.

The surgeon said performing coronary bypasses on conscious patients also reduced mucas in those with poor lungs, kept their blood vessels dilated and better preserved their organs.


  • The first UK heart bypass while the patient was awake was performed at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex in 2003.
  • The first US awake cardiac surgical procedure was performed in University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in 2000.