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All Diseases

Vasculitis is an inflammation of your blood vessels. It causes changes in the walls of blood vessels, including thickening, weakening, narrowing and scarring. These changes restrict blood flow, resulting in organ and tissue damage.

There are many types of vasculitis, and most of them are rare. Vasculitis might affect just one organ, such as your skin, or it may involve several. The condition can be short term (acute) or long lasting (chronic).

Vasculitis can affect anyone, though some types are more common among certain groups. Depending on the type you have, you may improve without treatment. Or you will need medications to control the inflammation and prevent flare-ups.

Vasculitis is also known as angiitis and arteritis.

Vasovagal syncope (vay-zoh-VAY-gul SING-kuh-pee) is one of the most common causes of fainting. Vasovagal syncope occurs when your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress.

The vasovagal syncope trigger causes a sudden drop in your heart rate and blood pressure. That leads to reduced blood flow to your brain, which results in a brief loss of consciousness.

Vasovagal syncope is usually harmless and requires no treatment. But it's possible you may injure yourself during a vasovagal syncope episode. Also, your doctor may recommend tests to rule out more-serious causes of fainting, such as heart disorders.

Ventricular fibrillation is a heart rhythm problem that occurs when the heart beats with rapid, erratic electrical impulses. This causes pumping chambers in your heart (the ventricles) to quiver uselessly, instead of pumping blood. Sometimes triggered by a heart attack, ventricular fibrillation causes your blood pressure to plummet, cutting off blood supply to your vital organs.

Ventricular fibrillation, an emergency that requires immediate medical attention, causes the person to collapse within seconds. It's the most frequent cause of sudden cardiac death. Emergency treatment includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and shocks to the heart with a device called a defibrillator.

Treatments for those at risk of ventricular fibrillation include medications and implantable devices that can restore a normal heart rhythm.

A ventricular septal defect (VSD), a hole in the heart, is a common heart defect that's present at birth (congenital). The hole occurs in the wall that separates the heart's lower chambers (septum) and allows blood to pass from the left to the right side of the heart. The oxygen-rich blood then gets pumped back to the lungs instead of out to the body, causing the heart to work harder.

A small ventricular septal defect may cause no problems, and many small VSDs close on their own. Larger VSDs need surgical repair early in life to prevent complications.

Vesicoureteral (ves-ih-koe-yoo-REE-tur-ul) reflux is the abnormal flow of urine from your bladder back up the tubes (ureters) that connect your kidneys to your bladder. Normally, urine flows only down from your kidneys to your bladder.

Vesicoureteral reflux is usually diagnosed in infants and children. The disorder increases the risk of urinary tract infections, which, if left untreated, can lead to kidney damage.

Vesicoureteral reflux can be primary or secondary. Children with primary vesicoureteral reflux are born with a defect in the valve that normally prevents urine from flowing backward from the bladder into the ureters. Secondary vesicoureteral reflux is due to a urinary tract malfunction, often caused by infection.

Children may outgrow primary vesicoureteral reflux. Treatment, which includes medication or surgery, aims at preventing kidney damage.

Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever.

The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis — often called stomach flu — is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. If you're otherwise healthy, you'll likely recover without complications. But for infants, older adults and people with compromised immune systems, viral gastroenteritis can be deadly.

There's no effective treatment for viral gastroenteritis, so prevention is key. In addition to avoiding food and water that may be contaminated, thorough and frequent hand-washings are your best defense.

Viral hemorrhagic (hem-uh-RAJ-ik) fevers are infectious diseases that interfere with the blood's ability to clot. These diseases can also damage the walls of tiny blood vessels, making them leaky. The internal bleeding that results can range from relatively minor to life-threatening.

Some viral hemorrhagic fevers include:

  • Dengue
  • Ebola
  • Lassa
  • Marburg
  • Yellow fever

These diseases most commonly occur in tropical areas of the world. When viral hemorrhagic fevers occur in the United States, they're usually found in people who've recently traveled internationally.

Viral hemorrhagic fevers are spread by contact with infected animals, people or insects. No current treatment can cure viral hemorrhagic fevers, and immunizations exist for only a few types. Until additional vaccines are developed, the best approach is prevention.

Vitamin deficiency anemia is a lack of healthy red blood cells caused by lower than normal amounts of certain vitamins. Vitamins linked to vitamin deficiency anemia include folate, vitamin B-12 and vitamin C.

Vitamin deficiency anemia can occur if you don't eat enough folate, vitamin B-12 or vitamin C. Or vitamin deficiency anemia can occur if your body has trouble absorbing or processing these vitamins.

Not all anemias are caused by a vitamin deficiency. Other causes include iron deficiency and certain blood diseases. That's why it's important to have your doctor diagnose and treat your anemia. Vitamin deficiency anemia can usually be corrected with vitamin supplements and changes to your diet.

Vitiligo (vit-ih-LIE-go) is a disease that causes the loss of skin color in blotches. The extent and rate of color loss from vitiligo is unpredictable. It can affect the skin on any part of your body. It may also affect hair, the inside of the mouth and even the eyes.

Normally, the color of hair, skin and eyes is determined by melanin. Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning.

Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. The condition is not life-threatening or contagious. It can be stressful or make you feel bad about yourself. Treatment for vitiligo may improve the appearance of the affected skin but does not cure the disease.

Vocal cord paralysis occurs when the nerve impulses to your voice box (larynx) are interrupted. This results in paralysis of the muscle of the vocal cords. Vocal cord paralysis can affect your ability to speak and even breathe. That's because your vocal cords, sometimes called vocal folds, do more than just produce sound. They also protect your airway by preventing food, drink and even your saliva from entering your windpipe (trachea) and causing you to choke.

There are a number of causes of vocal cord paralysis including damage to nerves during surgery and certain cancers. Vocal cord paralysis can also be caused by a viral infection or a neurological disorder.

Treatment for vocal cord paralysis usually includes voice therapy; however, surgery is also sometimes necessary.