Vital technology will save more patients

A LEADING consultant at Ipswich Hospital's today revealed how one vital piece of technology could more than double the number of patients who get ultrasound scans on arrival at accident and emergency.

A LEADING consultant at Ipswich Hospital's today revealed how one vital piece of technology could more than double the number of patients who get ultrasound scans on arrival at accident and emergency.

Lifesaver: Evening Star Christmas Appeal 2006 is a project to buy a £22,000 cardiac ultrasound machine for the A&E unit.

The technology is state-of-the-art and is expected to result in around 1,000 patients benefiting in the first year alone - more than twice the number the department's smaller, less advanced machine is currently used on.

Consultant David Lewis, who specialises in emergency medicine, said: “At the moment we have a small handheld machine which can't be used to see the heart.


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“The new one will be in the resuscitation room for the sickest patients who come into A&E.

“It will help doctors diagnose critically ill patients, of which we have one or two a day, more quickly.

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“Only five to ten per cent of emergency departments in the UK have ultrasound machines of this level. It will make an awful lot of difference and certainly in some cases will be a lifesaver.”

The resuscitation room is at the front of A&E, so heart attack and trauma patients who are rushed in can be seen as quickly as possible.

Doctors immediately work on the patients' airwaves, breathing and circulation and it is at this point the machine would be used.

The ultrasound results will have an immediate affect on how the doctors continue treatment, whereas currently they have to rely on guess work.

Mr Lewis said: “Ultrasound has been around in hospitals for around 50 years but in emergency departments only for about five years.

“Because it's relatively new the number of people benefiting is still rising and we are certainly seeing an increase here.

“We are gradually training doctors how to use it for emergencies and eventually nurses could be trained to use it too.

“There's not any one test that can prove someone's had a heart attack. Some are easy to diagnose with an ECG but there are different types of heart attacks and others are more difficult to diagnose.

“The machine can also be used to diagnose other conditions such as cardiac tamponade, which is when blood or fluid surrounds the hearts sack and the muscle shrinks and is difficult to diagnose without ultrasound.”

Ipswich Hospital boasts the biggest emergency department in Suffolk and it sees more than 60,000 people a year.

It could get even busier if a reorganisation of the health service results in other hospital's services being scaled down.

n Have you thought of holding a fundraising event to help our appeal? Call Hazel Byford on 01473 324788, or e-mail her at hazel.byford@eveningtstar.co.uk

n If you would like to support the appeal, send cheques made out to Lifesaver: Evening Star Christmas Appeal 2006, to 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN. You can also donate online at www.eveningstar.co.uk/lifesaver

Weblinks:

www.toshiba-europe.com

www.toshibamedicalsystems.com

www.ipswichhospital.org.uk

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