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New $1.3m high-tech angiography suite

5 December 2006

New $1.3m high-tech angiography suite to benefit Bay patients

A new state-of-the-art angiography suite is being opened at Hawke’s Bay Hospital this Friday, 8 December. The high-tech equipment, worth $1.3m replaces an X-Ray system purchased in 1994 and now obsolete.

Angiography allows images of the body’s arteries to be obtained by inserting a small plastic tube (catheter) into the circulation under local anaesthetic from the arm or leg and injecting an X-Ray contrast “dye “ into the vessels of interest. Blockages or narrowings identified by this technique can then be treated with balloon opening procedures (angioplasty) or surgery. The equipment is also used for imaging the main bile duct by injecting contrast into the opening from the small bowel via a flexible tube (endoscope)

The new equipment will provide vastly superior images compared to the old machine, improving diagnostic accuracy and safety.

Hawke’s Bay pioneered imaging of the heart circulation (coronary arteries) 35 years ago, under the leadership of Dr Maurice Nathan. Now retired, Dr Nathan will be guest of honour and officially open the new suite on Friday

HBDHB Cardiologist, Dr Richard Luke, said heart disease remains a major cause of illness and early death throughout the world and is prevalent in Hawke’s Bay. “This new equipment means we now have one of the most advanced systems in New Zealand. Diagnostic precision will improve and we may have the capacity to introduce coronary balloon angioplasty in the foreseeable future – an intervention for which patients need to travel to Wellington to receive at present.“

“The focal point of the new angiography suite is the GE Innova 3100 system which features an inbuilt ultrasound and 3-D imaging, similar to a CT scanner. As well as being used for diagnosis, an increasing number of biopsy procedures will now be performed in the suite.

The new unit is capable of providing image guidance for many therapeutic procedures carried out by interventional radiologists. In many cases this can reduce the need for surgery under general anaesthetic.

An interventional radiologist can carry out procedures under local anaesthetic to study blood vessels, clear blockages (clots) and insert stents to support narrowed, weak or damaged arteries. Biopsies (taking a sample of tissue for laboratory testing) can also be carried out in the new suite and there’s the potential to carry out more cardiac work in the future.

Interventional radiologist, Dr Umesh Pandey, said because the new equipment is multifunctional and produced such clear images, Hawke’s Bay people could now have many procedures carried out as day cases in Hawke’s Bay Hospital, rather than being referred out of the district.

Dr Pandey said the new angio equipment had proved its worth in the treatment of patients with limb ischaemia by angioplasty where a balloon is inserted to clear the artery or a stent (a flexible fine-mesh metal tube) is deployed to keep the artery open. Acute thromboembolism – a condition where an artery becomes blocked, due to a clot, can be cleared by intra-arterial thrombolysis . “If we see patients soon enough, we can clear the affected arteries by injecting a special solution via the arteries to dissolve the clot.

“The new equipment means we now get a very precise picture to guide us through blood vessels and other body organs for interventional procedures,” Dr Pandey said.

“We’ve had patients arrive in extreme pain, often unable to walk, with no blood flow to their leg. Amputation is a real possibility for those who don’t get timely treatment. Now, most of the cases with arterial narrowing and acute thrombosis are treated and discharged within 4-6 hours - the patient walks out the same day, pain free,” Dr Pandey said.

END

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