Lives of the fellows

Akhil Kapur

b.4 April 1964 d.17 March 2012
BMedSci Sheffield(1988) MB ChB(1990) MRCP(1994) MD Imperial(2004) FRCP(2010)

Akhil Kapur was an interventional cardiologist of international repute. He was born in New Delhi, India, and brought up in north-west London. His father, Satish Kapur, was a wine merchant, and his mother, Saroj Kapur, was a headmistress. At a young age he attained a full scholarship to the prestigious City of London School. After sitting the entrance exam, he commented that he found it quite easy and therefore was not sure whether the school would be good enough for him!

He qualified from University of Sheffield, obtaining several prizes and awards during his time there. He completed his general training in Sheffield, Oxford and the Midlands, and then moved to London for his cardiology training. The majority of his interventional training was at the Hammersmith Hospital. In 2003 he undertook a fellowship in Toulouse, France, working for the renowned interventionalists Jean Fajadet and Jean Marco.

In 2004 he was appointed to the London Chest Hospital as an interventional cardiologist. His determination and drive led him to become director of the catheter laboratories soon after. He was one of the first proponents in the UK of cardiac catheterisation via the radial route, which is now the preferred route of access. At the London Chest Hospital he developed the radial lounge for day case procedures, one of the first of its kind in the UK. This allowed patients to recover in an armchair rather than a bed.

He had a particular research interest in the management of coronary disease in diabetic patients, which commenced with the BART study (Bypass Angioplasty Registry in Type 1/2 diabetes), a prospective study of all diabetics with multivessel disease between 1998 and 2001 at the Hammersmith Hospital. Most notably he completed the CARDia trial, a multicentre study involving 21 sites in the UK, comparing angioplasty and surgery in diabetic patients with coronary artery disease.

He continued his interest in diabetes and coronary artery disease, and developed the first joint renal/cardiac service at the Royal London Hospital with Sir Magdi Yacoub. He also devised several further research projects in this field which are currently ongoing.

He was elected to the council of the British Cardiovascular Intervention Society (BCIS) in 2007, the national society in the UK for interventional cardiology. His extraordinary achievements so early in his career earned him the respect of all of his colleagues, while his intelligent and calm leadership style inspired all who met him. He was respected for his measured and objective opinions, both with regard to clinical issues and to those affecting the administration of the Society.

In his spare time, he was a multitalented individual who had varied interests, including art, drama, languages and sports. He produced and directed a play when he was at university. He became fluent in Spanish and French after relatively short stays in those countries. He enjoyed playing tennis and football. He was an avid Manchester United supporter. When asked why he did not support a more local team, he would answer: ‘because they are winners’. Akhil was a winner in all that he undertook.

When he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in late 2010, he demonstrated all the determination and qualities that those of us who knew him came to expect. He simply refused to be beaten by the condition, insisting he carry on working until a few months before his death. He argued with the specialists who told him that there was no cure, and left no stone unturned in trying to win his final, most difficult battle.

He was survived by his wife, Fiona, whom he married in 2004 and his two children, Sachin and Lara. He will be sorely missed by the national and international cardiology community as a leading opinion, and by all who were fortunate enough to have known him as a friend.

Richard Schilling
Bal Wasan
Mark Westwood

[Brit.med.J., 2012 345 4051]

(Volume XII, page web)

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