GIS - 22 October 2014: Intra Vascular Ultra Sound Imaging (IVUS), a new technique aimed at giving an external imaging of the coronary arteries, has been introduced in the Cardiology services at Victoria Hospital in Candos. Such technique allows doctors to decide which part of the vessels needs to be dilated, stented or bypassed.
IVUS is a medical imaging methodology which uses a specially designed catheter with a miniaturised ultrasound probe attached to the distal end of the catheter. The proximal end of the catheter is attached to a computerised ultrasound equipment. It allows the application of ultrasound technology to see from inside blood vessels through the surrounding blood column, visualising the inner wall of blood vessels in living individuals. The machine costs about Rs 1.5 million and the cost of the catheter is about Rs 30 000.
According to the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Lormus Bundhoo, the global burden of diseases due to cardiovascular diseases is escalating due to the rapid health transition. Statistics show that 17.3 million people globally die of cardiovascular disease each year, 80% of whom are in the developing world and Mauritius is not spared by this epidemic.
He recalled that in Mauritius, diseases of the circulatory system remain the most common cause of death. In 2009, 33.7% and in 2010 32.2% of all deaths were due to this group of diseases, he said.
Mr Bundhoo pointed out that the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life is in a continuous process of improving the infrastructure of health institutions and introducing new high tech and state-of-the-art equipment so as to improve service delivery and subsequently the quality of life of the citizens.
In 2012 as a result of the increase of coronary artery diseases, the government introduced drug eluting stents to the tune of Rs 30 to 40 million. These stents have made complex angioplasties possible thus avoiding open heart surgery in many cases, the Minister said.
Referring to the IVUS technique, Mr Bundhoo recalled that it is a continuation of investments made by the Government in favour of heart patients. IVUS allows one to appreciate the real extent of the disease, the degree of the lesion, the quality of the plaque burden, as well as the degree of calcification of the lesion. One angiography per patient costs around Rs 250 000, he added.
For his part, the Consultant-in-charge of the Cardiac Unit at Victoria Hospital, Dr M. Nizam Domah, said that the IVUS technique comprises numerous advantages. It enables a physician to get inside the artery with a camera-like device. IVUS can quantify the percentage of narrowing and give insight into the nature of the plaque. It also reveals buildup that may have been missed during an angiogram and angioplasty. In addition to decreasing the mortality rate, the technique also brings down the rate of hospitalisation while improving the quality of life of the patient in the short and long terms.
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