On Saturday noted cardiologist Dr Padmavati Sivaramakrishna Iyer passed away in Delhi after contracting the COVID-19 infection. She was 103. Padmavati was India’s first woman cardiologist. She was also the oldest cardiologist in India who remained active till almost the very end.

A pioneer in cardiology, Padmavati was admitted to the National Heart Institute (NHI) eleven days ago and undergoing treatment for a severe infection in both her lungs. She also developed pneumonia and was put on ventilator support later. According to the Indian Express, she suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday night.

Born in Burma (now Myanmar) in 1917, a year before the Spanish Flu pandemic, Padmavati came to India in 1942 during World War II. She graduated from the Rangoon Medical College and went overseas for higher education, Firstpost reported. Dr Padmavati has written over 300 articles.

What You Should Know

  • India’s first woman cardiologist Dr S Padmavati died at 103 after contracting the COVID-19 infection. 
  • Dr Padmavati had developed pneumonia and was put on a ventilator.
  • She was popularly known as the ‘Godmother of Cardiology’ and was a Padma Vibhushan awardee.

She founded NHI

The legendary cardiologist dedicated her entire life to medicine. She was popularly known as the ‘Godmother of Cardiology’ who went on to establish North India’s first Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at the Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi, in 1954.

Previously, she worked at the Lady Hardinge Medical College, and in 1962, she founded the All India Heart Foundation. She also founded the National Heart Institute, Delhi in 1981, the first cardiac catheterisation laboratory in the private sector in the Southern Hemisphere, the NHI said.

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For her contributions to the development of cardiology in India, she was awarded Fellowship of the American College of Cardiology and FAMS, and Padma Bhushan in 1967 and Padma Vibhushan in 1992 by the Government of India.

“Even till the last moment, she was very sharp and would put us to shame at times when we would not recount an incident but she would remember it. She was a health enthusiast and swam till the age of 93-94 years,” said Dr OP Yadava, Chief Cardiac Surgeon and Chief Executive Officer at NHI. The woman of medicine was also the recipient of the Harvard Medical International Award, Dr BC Roy Award, and Kamla Menon Research Award.

In her last days, she was serving as the founding director of the National Heart Institute in Delhi, TOI reported. “She loved playing tennis, which she gave up some time ago. Her physical abilities were restricted over the last five years,” Yadava said.

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Feature Image Credit: Twitter/@swami2005

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