DOCTORS at the Aga Khan University Hospital have devised a new technique for imaging the inside of blocked heart arteries.
If fully rolled out, the latest initiative is expected to save patients with artery disorders as they will not have to undergo a rigorous surgical operation.
Mzee Ngunga, one of the doctors in charge said through a procedure known as Intravascular Ultrasound, the medics use a special tool which allows them to see the inside of the heart artery and take pictures which are analysed.
“This helps to determine the amount of blood clot in the vessel and the degree of narrowing. It also guides the doctor to establish the most appropriate method to treat the diseased vessel,” Ngunga said.
He said patients suffering from the condition will now take a shorter time to recover and get discharged from hospital. Patients whose arteries narrow tend to have blood clots, a situation that leads to heart attacks and eventual death if not urgently treated.
“After the procedure the patient can walk around in about an hour without any discomfort in contrast to surgery where the patient is confined to the intensive care unit for up to one week,” Ngunga said.
“The advancement comes at the most opportune time for doctors because they will use this procedure to improve the treatment of patients with heart attacks."
Ngunga said the initiative will enable them achieve good results while undertaking complex procedures which involve putting stents (mesh tubes) in the arteries. In this process, accuracy is paramount. “The traditional approach to the treatment of blocked and narrowed heart arteries is the use of bypass surgery,” he said.
“This new technique is a great method to treat blocked or narrowed arteries but it cannot be performed immediately and completed in a few minutes as needed for patients with heart attacks.” The number of patients suffering from coronary artery disease is fast rising.