|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 298-299
Professor Savitri Shrivastava: A Legend to Live Forever
Maitri Chaudhuri1, Munesh Tomar2
1 Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Pediatrics, LLRM Medical College, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India
|Date of Submission||19-Oct-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||19-Oct-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||12-Nov-2022|
Dr. Munesh Tomar
Department of Pediatrics, LLRM Medical College, Meerut - 250 004, Uttar Pradesh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Chaudhuri M, Tomar M. Professor Savitri Shrivastava: A Legend to Live Forever. J Indian Acad Echocardiogr Cardiovasc Imaging 2022;6:298-9
|How to cite this URL:|
Chaudhuri M, Tomar M. Professor Savitri Shrivastava: A Legend to Live Forever. J Indian Acad Echocardiogr Cardiovasc Imaging [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 5];6:298-9. Available from: https://jiaecho.org/text.asp?2022/6/3/298/361065
Pens dry up while reminiscing the journey of Professor Savitri Srivastava, a trailblazer who embodied excellence, courage, dedication, discipline, and sincerity in one physical form. Born on the Doctors' Day in 1935 in Gwalior, her physician father rightly named her “Savitri” – the feminine incarnation of Sun.
Breaking glass ceilings was her inborn trait. In her sunset years, she narrated her emotions while joining as the first female MD medicine postgraduate trainee at the Gajra Raja Medical College, Gwalior. The shy, young girl reassured her family and teachers that she could handle inebriated patients landing up in the emergency department late at night or wade through realms of textbooks. The untimely demise of her father coupled with her unique fearless spirit directed her toward another bastion, the Army Medical Corps. She always believed that military training molded her into a disciplined soldier.
After completing DM in cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi in 1971, she finally discovered her destination in pediatric cardiology during a fellowship under Dr. Jesse E. Edwards at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA. Fascinated by cardiac pathology in the Miller hospital's famous basement laboratory, she soon became an asset to her mentor.
It was our great fortune that she returned home and was directed to supervise the newly established pediatric cardiology program by Professor Rajendra Tandon at AIIMS. This led to the birth of an international center of excellence. India was proud when she along with Dr. JE Lock and Dr. Khalilullah performed the first balloon mitral valvuloplasty at AIIMS in 1984–1985. Millions of children with rheumatic heart disease still benefit from their joint Indo - US collaboration.
Echocardiography was still in its infancy. M-Mode was the only modality she could access here. A born learner kept on learning and watching the rapid evolutions happening in the imaging world. Professor Savitri Srivastava, along with ten like-minded cardiologists, realized very early the immense potential of echocardiography. In February 1995, the first annual conference of the Indian Academy of Echocardiography was held in New Delhi with her as the founder-president, along with Dr. (Col) S K Parashar and a few other Indian leaders in echocardiography playing key roles. She continued her innings briefly in Lucknow before returning to Delhi.
The Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center, New Delhi, was her next and the final destination [Figure 1], where she officially started the National Board of Examinations accredited pediatric cardiology fellowship program in the year 2001, 1st in India. By then, she had mastered all facets of echocardiography, including two-dimensional echocardiography, color Doppler, tissue Doppler imaging, fetal echocardiography, transesophageal echocardiography, epicardial echocardiography, and critical care echocardiography, along with other cardiac imaging modalities such as computed tomography angiography and nuclear imaging. Her special ability to combine clinical examination, electrocardiogram, and chest X-ray data with advanced imaging allowed her to gain immaculate insights into any cardiac pathology, almost like a virtual cardiac autopsy. Hemodynamics was her strongest forte and her clinical deductions were always validated by independent cardiac catheterizations and intraoperative quantification.
|Figure 1: Prof. Savitri Shrivastava with Dr. S Radhakrishnan and Dr. Munesh Tomar at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi|
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A logical thinker resided within this perfectionist. Any vacant moment in the echocardiography laboratory was spent reading the latest journals - a habit she drilled into her fellows. Students in cardiology flocked to attend her classes, seminars, innumerable lectures, and publications. Being a student of Professor Srivastava was an honor in itself for any aspiring cardiologist. In the late 2000s, she, along with her students Dr. S Radhakrishnan and Dr. Munesh Tomar, published India's first book on pediatric echocardiography named “Echocardiography in congenital heart disease – A practical approach.”
She was a compulsive teacher and expected nothing but the best from her students. Every echocardiogram had to be documented as per the American Heart Association and the American Society of Echocardiography protocols. Her favorite one-liner was “If you don't document and archive the echocardiogram, I don't believe their existence.” Clinical auditing, comparing preoperative echocardiography with surgical findings, motivating students to longitudinally follow-up each child, and publishing every interesting case raised the benchmark for everybody.
All of us were intimidated by her towering personality, only to realize later in life how she had silently distributed the wealth of knowledge to her every disciple without any discrimination. Her two generations of students are currently the pillars of pediatric cardiac services across the length and breadth of India.
We can never forget the indomitable spirit of a 75-year-old lady with a fractured right arm in a sling, smiling and performing complex echocardiography with her left one. It was a moment of surprise, disbelief, and spontaneous admiration indelibly etched in our memories.
2022 saw the transformation of her mortal self into the realm of immortality. Freed from the shackles of age, morbidities, and mortality, she continues to live within each heart she touched and each mind she ignited.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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