Hundreds of Western Australian patients with life-threatening brain aneurysms and other complex brain conditions can now be diagnosed and treated each year using Australia’s best brain imaging machine.
Health Minister Jim McGinty today unveiled the first of two new generation $1.8million dedicated neurological machines at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital - part of the hospital’s new state-of-the-art $9.1million neuroradiology department.
“One in five people who suffers a ruptured brain aneurysm dies,” Mr McGinty said.
“The machines use digital fluoroscopy bi-plane technology and provide instantaneous, high-resolution 3D video images of blood vessels in the neck and head.
“Doctors are able to zoom-in closer than ever before to make a diagnosis and then perform immediate treatment.
“The new machines produce 3-D images faster than the machine currently in use at Royal Perth Hospital. The existing machine at RPH will continue to be used to treat less complex cases, which will reduce waiting times for patients.”
A total of 210 patients with brain and carotid artery vascular disease were treated in 2007. Up to 250 patients are now expected to be diagnosed and treated in 2008.
They will be used to diagnose and treat emergency patients from across WA with life-threatening brain aneurysms 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The machines will also benefit patients at risk of stroke and those who have potentially dangerous narrowing of the arteries in the neck.
The machines emit less radiation, making them safer for patients and staff.
Head of Interventional Neuroradiology at SCGH and RPH and director of the Diagnostic and Therapeutic NeuroImaging Service of WA Dr Con Phatouros said an aneurysm was a balloon-like bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakening of the vessel wall.
“About 150 Western Australians develop brain aneurysms each year,” Dr Phatouros said.
“Many of those can be treated using minimally invasive surgery which can significantly reduce the risk of bursting.
“Using a thin tube, we are able to feed tiny metal coils or stents up to the aneurysm via the major arteries. Once in place, they help blood in the affected area to clot and so reduce the risk of pressure building up and the aneurysm wall bursting.
“The new machines provide the clearest images yet. They enable us to see exactly what is happening inside the blood vessel in real-time.”
The Diagnostic and Therapeutic NeuroImaging Service of WA is based at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital. The second new machine will be installed in late 2009.
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