Media releases

Patients reap the benefits of Durban’s only hospital-based hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Oxygen therapy has many applications say experts

Monday, February 19 2018

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a well-known, established treatment for decompression sickness, a hazard of scuba diving. What is however not commonly known is that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also a recognised and effective medical treatment for a range of other conditions including diabetes-related wounds, failing skin grafts, radiation injury, limb crush injuries and thermal burns, to mention but a few.

“In fact, diving accidents make up a small minority of the cases treated at Hyperbaric and Wound Care Medical Centre located at Netcare St Augustine's Hospital in Durban,” says Dr Michael Marshall, a centre director and medical practitioner who specialises in hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment.

Pic: The Hyperbaric and Wound Care Medical Centre at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital is the only hospital-based medical facility of its kind in KwaZulu-Natal and has the only multi-place hyperbaric chamber, which can provide therapy for up to 10 patients at a time.

“Although we are one are the busiest facilities in the country for treating decompression sickness, or ‘the bends’ as it is more commonly known, handling between 10 to 20 these kinds of cases a year, these constitute but a fraction of the conditions that we actually treat,” observes Dr Marshall.

The Hyperbaric and Wound Care Medical Centre was opened in 2000. It not only remains the only hospital-based medical facility of its kind in KwaZulu-Natal but also has the only multi-place chamber, which can provide therapy for up to 10 patients at a time.

“The chamber, which looks a lot like a mini-submarine and is certified to a pressure equivalent to a depth of 60m of seawater, has successfully treated hundreds of patients with a variety of conditions over the years. Therapy is provided in accordance with the strict treatment protocols of the South African Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Association [SAUHMA],” adds Dr Marshall.

“We have on occasion assisted with simultaneously treating several divers for the bends after they have been involved in scuba diving incidents,” reflects Dr Marshall on the 17-year history of the Durban hyperbaric oxygen chamber. “The multi-place chamber has proved ideal for such cases.“  

“More typically, however, our patients have required supportive therapy for, among others, post-radiation therapy tissue injury; non-healing foot ulcers, which commonly occur in diabetics; chronic bone infections; limb crush injuries; thermal burns in which skin is burnt by an external heat source; threatened grafts and flaps; and for certain cases of sudden deafness.”

The centre recently, for instance, provided oxygen therapy to a 57-year-old type II diabetes sufferer from Durban, who was undergoing treatment for a diabetes associated foot ulcer by his medical specialist. The man was referred to the facility for supportive therapy for the ulcer, which was proving highly resistant to other types of treatment, notes Dr Marshall.

“After a few sessions in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, the blood flow to the wound was improved and it soon began healing, averting the threat of gangrene developing, which could have resulted in the patient’s toes, or even his foot having to be amputated.

“In cases where wounds are failing to heal due to a poor oxygen supply, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can make a substantial difference to wound healing and can even make the difference between a limb being lost or preserved,” he asserts.

Dr Marshall explains that hyperbaric oxygen therapy dissolves oxygen directly into the blood plasma, thereby enabling higher levels of oxygen to reach areas where circulation is diminished or obstructed as a consequence of disease or injury.

This non-invasive and painless treatment can reduce swelling in acute injuries, stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in tissues that have an inadequate blood circulation, and boost the immune system in fighting certain types of infections.

“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is most often used alongside other treatments to promote healing, and while it is by no means a cure for all diseases, it has numerous recognised medical applications today,” notes Dr Marshall.

Oxygen therapy is prescribed by a physician and performed under close medical supervision. Although it may carry minor risks for some patients, including the possibility of causing minor middle ear injury as a result of the increased air pressure, it is considered very safe. The treatment has some contraindications, so patients with a history of chest surgery or injury may, for example, be precluded from receiving the treatment.

Dr Craig Springate, who is a medical director of the Hyperbaric and Wound Care Medical Centre with Dr Marshall, points out that the centre at the Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital is situated directly underneath the emergency department, and in close proximity to the operating theatres and intensive care unit, which makes the centre easily accessible to patients.

“The chamber itself has been purpose developed to facilitate easy treatment of all types of patients including mobility-impaired, stretcher-bound and bariatric patients. Traditionally chambers were made with circular hatch-style doors, which made access difficult for those who had problems with their mobility. Our purpose-designed chamber door allows ambulant patients to walk rather than have to climb into the chamber, and it is also possible to wheel a stretcher directly into it,” explains Dr Springate.

Affirming the healing potential of oxygen therapy for appropriate cases, Dr Springate relates another recent case in which a 26-year-old man from Durban was brought in for supportive treatment for severe burns to his face and chest after an accident with an acetylene torch. With the correct wound care in hospital and a few hyperbaric treatments his wounds healed rapidly.

In addition to medical directors Dr Marshall and Dr Springate, both of whom have had extensive training and are highly experienced in hyperbaric oxygen medicine, the centre has six staff members who specialise in the treatment and assist in operating the chamber.

Dr Springate says that there are some hyperbaric chambers in the commercial diving sector in KwaZulu-Natal, but the one at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital is the only hospital-based unit in the province. Other hyperbaric oxygen facilities within the Netcare Group are situated at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg and Netcare Pretoria East Hospital in Pretoria, while Medicross Tokai in Cape Town also operates a single-patient chamber.

“The Hyperbaric and Wound Care Centre at the hospital has a long and distinguished track record,” says Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital general manager, Heinrich Venter. “It has established itself as a critical treatment facility at our hospital and as the key private service provider in KwaZulu-Natal. We are gratified to be able to offer this important treatment option and support therapy to our patients,” he concludes.

Ends

Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, and Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, or meggan@mnapr.co.za

 

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Netcare water sustainability initiatives in the Western and Eastern Cape

Netcare’s sustainability strategy takes cognisance of the fact that South Africa is a water scarce country

Monday, February 19 2018

The Netcare Group has embarked on key sustainability initiatives more than five years ago, including reducing electricity use, exploring the use of alternative electricity sources, reducing healthcare risk waste, generating less and recycling general waste, using water sparingly and the implementation of a grey water strategy.  The cumulative aim of these initiatives is to reduce our Group’s carbon footprint and utilising water in a sustainable way.

Netcare’s sustainability strategy takes cognisance of the fact that South Africa is a water scarce country and therefore our specific water sustainability strategy is not only aimed at the current crisis but ultimately at finding long term sustainable solutions. Therefore Netcare is well prepared for the water shortage currently being experienced in the Western and Eastern Cape.

Our water conservation strategy resulted in the implementation of low flow shower heads, reducing baths in preference for showers and introducing volume restricted aerators on taps. Furthermore our gardens are planted with indigenous plants and utilise grey water for gardening purposes. As such, our five hospitals in the Western Cape have achieved a reduction in their water usage of 45% since 2015.

We have a dedicated task team to specifically address the maintenance of a sustainable water supply to our hospitals in Cape Town and surrounds, Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage.  These include Netcare Kuils River, Netcare Blaauwberg, Netcare N1 City, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial, UCT Private Academic, Netcare Ceres, Netcare Greenacres and Netcare Cuyler hospitals.  Our plans to ensure an on-going sustainable water supply also extend to all of our Group’s Medicross family medical and dental centres and National Renal Care dialysis facilities in these areas.

Netcare has furthermore initiated its national disaster plan which directs, measures and has as its core the aim of minimising the impact of the critical water shortages on the provision of essential healthcare services at the aforementioned Netcare facilities in the Western and Eastern Cape.

On a daily basis Netcare ensures the safety of our patients and the sustainability of our business through the Netcare major incident response team and technical teams by managing water and power outages.

The Netcare water task team has worked closely with the Western Cape provincial disaster management team to ensure that rapid appropriate emergency action is taken by hospital management when and where needed.

The members of the Netcare water task team are in contact at all times and meet on a weekly basis to ensure that the Group’s national disaster plan for water at Netcare is being closely monitored and adjusted to ensure compliance to standard operating procedures.

Water usage per facility is closely monitored on an on-going basis to ensure a proactive rather than a reactive response to increased demand and usage is followed.  Water usage is measured daily via monitors that have been installed and there is a focus on the detection of anomalies which may point to leaks. All of our hospitals are benchmarked to ensure constant conservation of and reduction in water usage.

A project to increase the water storage capacity at our Western Cape hospitals is underway, with scheduled completion by 28 February 2018.

Boreholes have been drilled at Netcare Kuils River, Netcare N1 City and Netcare Blaauwberg hospitals, and water purification plants will be introduced to ensure the quality of the potable water. These facilities will have adequate back-up water for at least four days in the event that municipal water to a hospital is disrupted. Further desalination treatment will be required at Netcare N1 City and Netcare Blaauwberg hospitals due to the salinity of the borehole water at these facilities. Boreholes and other alternative water sources are being investigated for Netcare Cuyler and Netcare Greenacres hospitals.

However, Netcare is mindful of the underground water resource capacity of the boreholes and of possible constraints. Therefore a water desalination plant is currently being manufactured and will be installed and functional at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital by March 2018. The cost of Netcare’s investment in this specific project is R5.5 million.

Netcare has applied to the authorities for the required licence to utilise borehole water and seawater as potable water after desalination and purification. Until such time as the licence is issued, these water sources may only be used after Day Zero. The desalination plant will produce water which is in line with South African National Standard (SANS) 241 regulations, which set out potable water quality requirements.

The desalination plant will use groundwater that is currently pumped out on a daily basis from the basement of Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital on the foreshore, which is reclaimed land and reaches approximately 10 metres below ground level.

The desalination plant will produce sufficient water not only for the hospital itself but also for the other Netcare hospitals, Medicross and National Renal Care facilities in the Western Cape. The water will be trucked to the other facilities.

In the event of Day Zero, Netcare will ensure that our staff members and doctors will have facilities at the hospitals to freshen up and we will allocate 25 litres per person. Disposable uniforms (scrubs) will also be made available to staff members and doctors alike.

Some of the other initiatives implemented in response to the water restrictions in the Western Cape, which have helped to reduce water consumption are as follows:

  • Raised awareness amongst patients, allied health professionals and staff on how they can contribute to water conservation.
  • The replacement of traditional hospital curtains with disposable curtains in specialised units.
  • The closing of certain water outlets, restricted access to water points and strict management of all water outlets within the hospitals.
  • Tap closure of 30% of all taps in all facilities following the city’s reduction of water allocation to 50 litres per person per day.
  • Encouraging and teaching of the enhanced use of alcohol rub for hand hygiene within our hospitals.
  • The reduction of unnecessary laundry and introduction of disposable linen where practical.
  • The introduction of waterless bathing, using specially designed patient bath wipes.
  • The introduction of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) recommended waterless scrub technique for doctors and staff in theatre.
  • A strategic plan to manage patients requiring dialysis, to reduce the water usage and water waste.
  • The introduction of waterless cooking methods and disposable crockery and cutlery.
  • The removal of food substances that use water for reconstitution, such as jellies.
  • The introduction of strict water restrictions in terms of dishwasher usage (disposable cutlery and crockery).
  • The reduction of drinking water wastage by removal of water jugs at the patient bedside and facilitation of required water as needed on a glass-by-glass basis.
  • Increasing bottled water supply for the hospitals.
  • Increased visible signage in all hospitals to enhance compliance to water restriction practices.
  • Enhanced security plan and measures to ensure the safety and sustainability of the water supplies to the hospitals, and the safety of patients and staff.
  • Procurement initiatives that reduce water usage.
  • The harvesting of grey water from autoclaves, air conditioning and other equipment within the hospital where the by-product of its function is water, for channelling the water back into the system after appropriate filtration and/or treatment.
  • Fire training has been enhanced in all our facilities and we have increased the number of fire extinguishers to ensure that during this period the risk of fire due to reduced water pressure is adequately mitigated.

Currently the Group’s water usage in its Western Cape hospitals has been reduced from over 500 litres per bed per day in 2013 to approximately 300 litres per bed per day.

Netcare continues implementing water initiatives in all its hospitals to reduce consumption, prevent wastage and harness efficiencies.  Further long term strategies related to water usage and conservation are in development, including the recycling and purification of waste water.

Statement by Jacques du Plessis, managing director of Netcare’s hospital division

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Treating the ‘untreatable’ cardiac patient

Minimally invasive heart valve replacement procedure available

Monday, February 12 2018

The replacement of diseased heart valves with artificial ones by means of open-heart surgery is fairly common practice at certain hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal. What is not commonly known though, is that a minimally invasive valve replacement procedure is performed at a local hospital for patients who are not strong and healthy enough to undergo major open-heart surgery.

This was pointed out by Dr Myenderan Odayan, a cardiothoracic surgeon who practises at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban. According to Dr Odayan, the intricate Transcatheter Aortic Valve Intervention, or TAVI, is much less invasive than open-heart surgery and is only performed on patients whose health is compromised to the extent that they may not survive conventional surgery.

“These patients tend to be frail and/or elderly, or people with other medical conditions that severely weaken their constitution, and would be considered at high risk of not surviving the anaesthetic for the open-heart operation, or the surgery itself,” says Dr Odayan, who notes that Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital is the only facility in KwaZulu-Natal and one of only five in the country to offer the procedure.

“For these individuals, TAVI is considered the only safe and viable means of replacing their diseased and dysfunctional heart valves. The treatment usually not only extends patients’ lives by many years but also considerably improves their quality of life.”
 
Offered locally
“While this highly specialised treatment has been offered through a dedicated private TAVI centre at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital for almost a decade, some of these vulnerable patients are being referred to other provinces for treatment. This is largely due to a lack of awareness that they can have the same treatment locally.

“It is not ideal for these compromised patients to travel long distances to access treatment,” observes Dr Odayan.

Dr Jaivadan Patel, an interventional cardiologist who practises at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital and who also forms part of the TAVI team there, explains that the procedure is undertaken percutaneously, or in other words, through small puncture holes in the skin.

“The transcatheter heart valve is put in place via a catheter and a ‘balloon’ is used to blow up the artificial valve to the correct size. Once the new valve is secured, the balloon is removed,” he states.

Quicker recovery
“Patients usually recover much more quickly from this procedure, are up and about within days of the operation, and are discharged sooner, a benefit they appreciate,” notes Dr Patel.

The first TAVI procedures in South Africa were completed in 2009, with the support of Netcare, as part of a training programme undertaken to introduce the treatment to the country. These procedures were completed in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town, under the guidance of renowned international cardiologists and surgeons.

The team at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital was led by Dr Patel, who was supported by interventional cardiologist, Dr Mohamed Hassim, cardio-thoracic surgeons, Dr Odayan and Dr David Shama, and echo cardiographer, Mr Reventheran Pillay. They all underwent training in Switzerland and locally and form the basis of the highly experienced TAVI team at the hospital today.

Previously untreatable
“The introduction of TAVI was a watershed in the history of local heart medicine and for the first time brought hope to patients who were previously considered untreatable,” notes Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital general manager, Heinrich Venter.

“We are proud to offer this highly specialised service, which has already saved numerous lives over the years since its introduction. The hospital would like to thank the entire TAVI team for their dedication, and for working with the hospital to make this important service available to the community we serve,” concludes Venter.

Ends

Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za, or pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

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Mikayla survives cobra bite and kicks off school career with a smile

Expertise, caring cooperation and 17 vials of antivenom save plucky six-year-old

Thursday, February 8 2018

Few six-year-olds have had as eventful a start to 2018 as Mikayla Grove, who was bitten by one of Africa’s most dangerous snakes, a Mozambique spitting cobra, which found its way onto her bed while she was sleeping. However, within three weeks of being admitted to Netcare Alberlito Hospital in Ballito in a critical condition, the plucky young girl had recovered to the extent that she was discharged from hospital and was well enough to attend her first day of primary school.

“It was a warm Sunday evening in mid-January when my wife, Inge, and I had put the children to bed when suddenly, around 8pm, we heard a scream coming from the bedroom shared by our daughters,” says Mikayla’s father, Ludwig Grove.

Pic: Mikayla Grove (right) and her mother Inge. Mikhayla was bitten in the face by a Mozambique spitting cobra, and the snake sprayed venom into Inge's eyes when she rushed into Mihhayla’s bedroom after hearing her scream. Fortunately, both mother and daughter have now recovered.

Presuming that one of their daughters was having a nightmare, Inge went to investigate but did not switch on the light. As she bent over Mikayla’s bed, however, she heard a loud hissing noise before the Mozambique spitting cobra, which she could not see in the dark, sprayed a stream of venom into her eyes.

“My wife grabbed Mikayla and rushed to the bathroom next to the girls’ bedroom. Mikayla’s big sister Bella got out of bed and switched on the light just as I came to the room and saw the snake lying on Mikayla’s pillow. Thank goodness they all made it out of the room without more attacks by the snake.”

While Inge started washing the venom out of her eyes, Ludwig noticed two small spots of blood on Mikayla’s left cheek and realised that she had been bitten.

“We bundled the kids into the car and took a bottle of water with us so that my wife could continue washing her eyes, as the snake’s venom can cause blindness if it is not quickly and thoroughly rinsed out of the eyes.”

He immediately phoned one of the family’s close friends, a neonatal nurse at Netcare Alberlito Hospital, and asked that she alert the emergency department that they were en route and to explain the nature of the emergency.

When the family arrived at Netcare Alberlito Hospital, a team from the emergency department were ready and waiting for Mikayla. “We were extremely fortunate, as there was a highly experienced medical team ready to initiate treatment immediately. Anaesthetist, Dr Ian Lander, was outstanding, and he had already contacted Dr Bianca Visser, who has vast expertise in the treatment of snake bites.”

Dr Visser, who is the principal clinical manager of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital’s emergency department and a locum doctor for Netcare Alberlito Hospital’s emergency department, was off duty when she received the call and immediately rushed to join the team treating Mikayla.

”Treating a venomous snakebite is highly complex. On my way, I phoned ahead to instruct the treating doctor to start preparing everything we would need, as a Mozambique spitting cobra bite to the face is almost always critical.  I have lots of experience administering antivenom, as I previously worked at Ngwelezane Hospital near Empangeni, where we sometimes treated up to 10 snakebites a day in peak season. In contrast, here we generally see only five to 10 snakebites over the whole season.”

“Mikayla’s condition was initially critical. She was agitated, vomiting, her face was swollen and there was imminent risk of her airway becoming obstructed. Mikayla was intubated and her airway was secured while the emergency department team started premedication with steroids and adrenaline to prepare her body to receive the antivenom. Mikayla received five vials of antivenom with no anaphylactic reaction, and then we administered another five vials,” Dr Visser explains.

“Thankfully, this stopped the swelling and Mikayla remained stable although she had to be monitored continuously. She was admitted to the intensive care unit [ICU], where she received seven more vials of antivenom overnight.”

The ICU medical team, comprising Dr Lander and paediatrician, Dr Kamendran Pather, made integral decisions that helped to stabilise Mikayla's critical condition and manage the harmful consequences of the venom and infection that ensued.  Dr Pather reiterated that the combined efforts of the diligent nursing staff and the allied disciplines, such as the dieticians and the physiotherapist, contributed greatly to steering Mikayla on the road to recovery.

According to Dr Visser, the effects of Mozambique spitting cobra venom are mostly cytotoxic, meaning that it causes damage to soft tissue including swelling and necrosis (causing cell death), however it can also result in some autonomic neurotoxic symptoms including vomiting, agitation, blurred vision and salivation.

“If someone is bitten by a snake it is imperative that they receive appropriate treatment as soon as possible.  We do not need to identify the snake to be able to manage a patient appropriately therefore people do not need to chase the snake, trying to catch or kill it before seeking emergency care,” Dr Visser adds.

Four days later, Mikayla was transferred to the paediatric ward of the hospital under the care of paediatrician, Dr Kamendran Pather. Plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr Trishan Pillay, was consulted and found that there were still indications of infection in the soft tissue of her face and neck.

“We found that in addition to the loss of skin on her cheek where she was bitten, the venom had caused infection beneath the skin, extending under her chin, around her neck and onto one of her shoulders,” Dr Pillay explains.

Mikayla Grove, six, recently attended her first day of primary school a mere three weeks after she was bitten by a Mozambique spitting cobra, one of Africa’s most dangerous snakes.

“We had to take Mikayla to theatre four times in six days to clean out the infection, and by the sixth day the infection was under control. There had been significant loss of fatty tissue, however, and a hole remained in her cheek.

“We created a small tissue flap from under her chin to close the skin, and removed the surgical drain that had been put in place to help clear the affected area. A few days after Mikayla’s discharge from hospital I saw her for a follow-up appointment and she is doing extremely well and greeted me with a big smile. In a few months’ time we will need to transfer some fat to replace the lost fatty tissue, which gives structure and volume to the face.”

Mikayla’s parents paid tribute to all the doctors and nurses at Netcare Alberlito Hospital for their efforts in saving Mikayla’s life and securing her rapid recovery. The doctors and staff, in turn, expressed their appreciation for the support and trust the Groves placed in them, as well as for letting them know of her excellent progress since her discharge from hospital.

“Mikayla was very excited to attend her first day of primary school, or ‘big school’ as she calls it, the week after her discharge. We have spoken to her about her experience and I think she understands what she has been through. Mikayla was glad to hear that the snake that bit her was not killed but was released back into the wild. She even decided to name the snake, and called it ‘Pearl’,” Ludwig concluded.

Ends

Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare Alberlito Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney and Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za or meggan@mnapr.co.za

 

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Next generation state-of-the-art radiation therapy system at Netcare N1 City Hospital

Patients to benefit from advanced power and precision in cancer treatment

Tuesday, February 6 2018

With even greater precision in delivering high doses of radiotherapy for the treatment of a wide range of cancers and benign diseases in various parts of the body, patients are experiencing the benefits of the advanced Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, which was recently installed at Netcare N1 City Hospital’s oncology and interventional centre.

“The dedicated oncology centre at Netcare N1 City Hospital has been providing radiotherapy to patients in the Western Cape since 2009, and has been keeping abreast of the significant advances in radiation technology that are helping to improve patient outcomes,” says Noeleen Phillipson, Netcare’s executive responsible for oncology.

Pic: The dedicated oncology centre at Netcare N1 City Hospital is now equipped with the state-of-the-art Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, which offers enhanced precision in delivering high doses of radiotherapy for the treatment of a wide range of cancers and benign diseases.

“Every cancer story is unique. Netcare is committed to creating patient-focused care facilities that navigate patients through this challenging and personal time.

“We recognise that everyone will have their own fears and coping mechanisms. With this in mind, our entire approach is to support and guide each individual patient.

“The centre specialises, among other things, in stereotactic irradiation and has a proud history in the field of radiotherapy. This new treatment system expands the therapeutic radiation treatment options available at the hospital, as it can rotate 360 degrees around the patient to deliver high precision treatments in various applications. We are pleased that we can now also offer the advantages of this system to patients in the Western Cape.”

Dr Anton van Wyk, general manager at Netcare N1 City Hospital, says the oncology and interventional centre has a holistic approach to cancer treatment. “The multidisciplinary medical team includes radiologists, oncologists, medical physicists, radiation therapists and surgeons, who work closely together to develop and review individual treatment plans that are tailored to the unique needs of each patient. Treatment may involve radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, or a combination of these.”

“Healthcare professionals offer support to patients during treatment on aspects such as nutrition and exercise to help them maintain the best possible quality of life during treatment, and patients also have access to the Look Good Feel Better programme in addition to being cared for by our experienced radiation therapy staff,” adds Marilyn Lameyer, manager at the oncology and interventional centre.

Radiation oncologist, Dr John Sauer, says the non-invasive Varian Trilogy linear accelerator is equipped with infrared cameras that continuously monitor the patient’s position. This is in addition to the ExacTrac X-ray positioning system that provides the highest treatment accuracy available on the market and makes use of a specialised robotic bed, which has the capability to make micro adjustments in six dimensions.

“A feature of this technology is that the radiation therapists are able to monitor the positioning in real time, so that the therapeutic radiation dose can be delivered with sub-millimeter mechanical accuracy,” he explains.

Dr Sauer adds that the Varian Trilogy system is highly versatile as it is equipped for stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), whereby radiation is delivered from various angles to focus a high dose on the targeted lesion. This can be achieved through either using conventional treatment techniques, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) techniques or by way of Varian’s patented RapidArc technique.

“This is a particularly important treatment option in cases where tumours are not surgically accessible, or are close to nerves or other healthy tissue that could potentially be compromised in traditional surgical interventions. It is non-invasive and the objective is to increase the dose to the target lesion while limiting dose to nearby structures and normal tissue,” he adds.

“The exactness with which we are able to direct the dose of radiation means that there is minimal exposure of these healthy surrounding nerves and tissue, which is particularly important for preservation of critical structures when treating cancers of the head, brain, neck, lungs and prostate, for example.”

“Another benefit of the system is that treatment times tend to be much shorter, which is more convenient for our patients,” notes Dr Sauer.

Phillipson points out that, statistically, one in four South Africans’ lives will be impacted by cancer, either directly or indirectly. “With early detection, on-going advances in medical technology and a holistic, collaborative approach to treating cancer, there is more hope than ever for improving patient outcomes and saving lives,” she says.

“The range of world-class cancer treatments and wealth of expertise at the oncology and interventional centre at Netcare N1 City Hospital are certainly formidable allies against this disease and the Varian Trilogy linear accelerator is a welcome addition to the Netcare Western Cape oncology landscape,” she concludes.  

Ends

Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare N1 City Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney and Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za or meggan@mnapr.co.za

 

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International collaboration eases SA woman’s unbearable pain

Team undertakes advanced pain management procedure locally

Monday, February 5 2018

Specialists in the field of pain management from Belgium and South Africa have teamed up to help a 29-year-old Johannesburg woman who has suffered unbearable facial pain for a decade.

In a landmark procedure performed at Netcare Jakaranda Hospital on Sunday, 17 December 2017, anaesthetist, Dr Jean-Pierre Van Buyten of the Multidisciplinary Pain Centre in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, and local chronic pain management practitioner, Dr Russell Raath, implanted specially designed neuro-stimulating electrode leads into Crystal Riekert’s face in an attempt to relieve her facial pain.

Pic: Crystal Riekert (left) suffered unbearable pain for almost a decade before local chronic pain management practitioner, Dr Russell Raath (centre), and Belgian anaesthetist, Dr Jean-Pierre Van Buyten of the Multidisciplinary Pain Centre in Sint-Niklaas (right), teamed up to implant specially designed neuro-stimulating electrode leads into her face during a procedure at Netcare Jakaranda Hospital. A month after the procedure, Crystal reports that her pain has been substantially reduced

“Crystal endured 10 years of excruciating pain, which different specialists have attributed to various conditions and for which she has had a number of treatments but, unfortunately, none of these have brought her relief. Her pain level was considered to be 10, the maximum on the pain level scale and which most of us could not even begin to imagine living with,” Dr Raath explained.

Dr Raath is one of the few full-time pain management practitioners in South Africa and focuses on the alleviation of pain that has no apparent, medically defined cause. “For many of my patients, including Crystal, pain itself is the ailment they are living with, rather than the pain being a symptom of a defined medical condition that can be treated to relieve the pain,” he adds.

“Crystal underwent several major surgeries through the years in an attempt to resolve her severe facial pain. She has had open cranial surgery twice and had her temporomandibular joint, which connects the lower jaw to the skull, replaced in the hope that this may bring her relief.”

“She has also had radiofrequency treatment on the trigeminal ganglion, which is a cluster of nerve cells on the trigeminal nerve that controls sensation in the face. All of these interventions were unsuccessful in relieving the pain she has been living with for so long, and this is when Crystal came to consult me at the pain management clinic at Netcare Jakaranda Hospital,” explains Dr Raath.

Speaking before the procedure, Crystal described her facial pain as debilitating. “It affects every aspect of my life. I cannot drive, I don’t have much of a social life and thank goodness I work for my dad because it would be very difficult to hold down a job otherwise with my condition,” she says.

“I have been using pethidine to control the pain, but it can be addictive and I don’t want to be on heavy pain medication for the rest of my life. The painkillers make me feel sleepy and slow, but without them I am in agony.”

Dr Raath believes that Crystal’s pain stems from neuropathy, and he proposed implanting a neuromodulator to stimulate the affected nerve ganglion with electrical impulses. Several months ago, Dr Raath performed this procedure and Crystal’s pain was significantly reduced, but not entirely resolved, and he remained determined to find a lasting solution for Crystal.

Dr Raath contacted Dr Van Buyten, who is a leading international expert in neurostimulation for treatment of facial pain. The Belgian anaesthetist has designed and custom-made a new type of lead for the neuromodulator that Dr Raath believed could bring lasting relief for Crystal’s chronic pain.

Crystal says she was amazed to hear that Dr Van Buyten had agreed to fly to South Africa to perform her procedure with Dr Raath.

“I had heard of Dr Van Buyten through a neuropathy support group on Facebook, and I had been in contact with one of his patients in Holland who had undergone a similar procedure and had a positive outcome.”

Dr Raath explains that the procedure to implant the new electrode leads into Crystal’s face was not a major operation, and was performed using a surgical needle and x-ray control. “We were hopeful that once the procedure was completed and the neuromodulator activated, she would experience the anticipated pain relief.”

Dr Van Buyten, who flew to Johannesburg on 16 December 2017 to consult with Dr Raath and examine Crystal as well as another patient suffering facial pain, concurred, saying that he fully expected the new implant to provide Crystal with substantial relief and meaningfully improve her quality of life.  

“Accurately diagnosing and treating such cases of facial pain is critical and requires a high degree of specialisation and expertise,” noted Dr Van Buyten, who was visiting South Africa for the first time.

A month after the procedure, Crystal says that her pain has been dramatically reduced. “I am now able to drive myself, I am back at work and I am feeling so much better than I have in almost a decade – this procedure has already made an enormous difference to my quality of life.”

“I am no longer in constant pain and I am not so reliant on pain killers anymore, although I have to gradually wean off the pethidine because I had been using it for so long,” she adds.

“For various reasons we are seeing an increased number of these kinds of patients internationally, and I believe that it is important that globally we train more pain specialists and establish more dedicated centres that can diagnose and effectively treat them,” noted Dr Van Buyten, who has years of experience in the field.

“It was good to collaborate with a South African specialist such as Dr Raath, whom I met many years ago at a medical congress in Turkey and who has a special interest in this highly complex but increasingly important field of medicine.”

Asked about the neuromodulator lead that he had custom-made and used in Crystal’s case, Dr Van Buyten said that he had done this with the help of an engineer two years ago. “I wanted to develop leads that would be implanted more securely and we have achieved good results with them over the last couple of years,” he related.

Crystal expressed her gratitude to the doctors and the teams of healthcare professionals that assisted them in their efforts to relieve her of the pain.

“I would like to thank Dr Jaco Jurgens, of Krugersdorp, who has been my general practitioner since I was born. He has taken care of me as if I was his own child, and I don’t know what I would have done without him,” Crystal says.

“Thank you so much to Dr Raath at Netcare Jakaranda Hospital and his team for sticking with me for so long. It has been an extremely trying time for me, and Dr Raath has really stuck with me and gone out of his way to help me. I am very grateful for all that he and Dr Van Buyten have done for me,” she concluded.

Ends

Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare Jakaranda Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za or pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

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Ground-breaking recycling project turns used IV drip bags and tubing into much-needed school shoes for disadvantaged children
1 000 school shoes handed over to learners of the Masakhane-Tswelopele Primary School
Wednesday, January 31 2018

In a pioneering and collaborative move for the healthcare industry, a recycling project between Adcock Ingram Critical Care, Netcare, Executive Mayor, Councillor Herman Mashaba, and the City of Johannesburg, is helping hospitals deal with their safe healthcare waste in a way that creates functional new products, including school shoes for disadvantaged children.

The innovative project, in which used, non-hazardous intravenous infusion (IV) drip bags and tubing made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are recycled into soles for school shoes, today saw roughly 1 000 school shoes handed over to learners of the Masakhane-Tswelopele Primary School in Zandspruit by Mayor Mashaba.

This forms part of an Adcock Ingram Critical Care and Netcare partnership with the City of Johannesburg to initiate collaboration on the impact of the environment on human health, with the aim of creating more sustainable solutions for the benefit of the city and its citizens.

“This fantastic initiative is aligned with the A Re Sebetseng mayoral project, a clean-up campaign encouraging all citizens to take pride in their environment, community, and city,” said Mashaba. “I am a strong believer in public and private partnership. We, as government, have no chance of doing it on our own so it’s incredibly exciting to be part of this project that is built on a joint effort between a pharmaceutical company, a private healthcare provider group and local government, to benefit impoverished children. This is the way of the future.”

The donation of school shoes was of personal significance to Mashaba, who did not have shoes for school as a child. “When you have shoes, you have pride” stated Mashaba; a quality he believes is lacking in the poorest communities due to the conditions in which people are forced to live. “We are promoting a culture of reducing, re-using and recycling waste to ensure Joburg becomes one of the cleanest cities in Africa,” added Mashaba.

Colin Sheen, MD of Adcock Ingram Critical Care, highlighted the ground-breaking aspect of the initiative. “It’s an honour for us to be working with the Mayor, the City of Johannesburg and Netcare on this extremely important project. This is an example of what can be achieved when the private and public sectors work together for the benefit of our environment and the upliftment of communities in need.”

“Netcare is delighted to be a part of this worthy initiative, which not only speaks to our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint but also to our spirit of investing in the communities where we operate. By participating in this project we are embracing a more sustainable approach to healthcare which, at the same time, is benefitting local school children,” said Richard Friedland, CEO of Netcare Ltd.
 
 “This project is just the beginning of a partnership in which the three parties have come together to all play a part in reducing waste, pollution and landfill sites, ultimately benefitting all citizens, who can look forward to a cleaner, greener, and better city. We look forward to the meaningful difference this recycling initiative will make in the lives of individuals and communities as we expand it in the coming years,” added Friedland.

The project started with a long-term commitment to building a sustainable business that has the lowest possible impact on the environment. Adcock Ingram Critical Care, market leader in IV bags (drips) in the private and public healthcare sector in SA, recognised an opportunity to extend the life of drip bag cut-offs and used drips bags which had contained non-hazardous solutions and were traditionally disposed of to landfill sites as waste.

Joining forces with Netcare, a project was initially piloted at Netcare Pretoria East and Netcare Unitas hospitals, where the traditional cycle of disposal of these bags was relooked. Based on the positive outcome of the project in the pilot hospitals, it was extended to three more hospitals – Netcare Milpark, Netcare Pinehaven and Netcare Krugersdorp – in 2017.

Conveniently located blue coloured bins were set up specifically for the purpose of segregating uncontaminated used PVC drip bags, nurses were trained, and the PVC waste material was collected by recyclers who then sold it to a company that uses this highest grade and quality PVC plastic to make soles for shoes.
“It’s about designing functional products out of our used products, minimising their negative impact on the environment, and producing new products that benefit our communities,” added Sheen. “This is part of the future of plastics recycling and we are making it happen in our city.”

Globally, PVC recycling programmes are changing the way hospitals think about reducing both their costs and their impact on the environment. Countries like Australia are taking a tougher approach on plastics in the belief that this could create jobs in recycling, engineering and research, forming part of a strategy that aims to plug plastic waste back into the production chain while using as much recycled material as possible.

Locally, the hospital PVC recycling project was initiated with the assistance of the Southern African Vinyls Association (SAVA), which is implementing a recycling programme whereby non-hazardous material and PVC is recovered for recycling. This is helping transform the plastics industry, encouraging local PVC manufacturers to adopt sustainable practices and the removal of hazardous materials in the manufacturing process.

The donation of a pair of school shoes to every child at Masakhane-Tswelopele Primary School in Zandspruit, chosen as a beneficiary because it is a quintile 1 school serving the poorest of the poor, is an example of the positive impact a successful hospital PVC recycling project, and strong partnership between industry and government, can have on individuals and a community.

“We are especially grateful to our Mayor, Councillor Herman Mashaba, the City of Johannesburg, and Ms Anna Lebethe, Principal of Masakhane-Tswelopele Primary School, for giving us the opportunity to do something positive and meaningful for some of our most vulnerable young residents,” said Sheen. “We aim to encourage more hospitals to recycle PVC, given the benefits that come with it, including generating more employment from recycling drives.”

“A pair of shoes is a practical gift which protects children’s feet from rough ground, dirt and cold, making the experience of learning and playing at school far more pleasant. We need more collaboration and recycling projects aimed at cleaning up our city and using repurposed plastics to provide much-needed, cost-effective products for disadvantaged communities,” concluded Sheen and Friedland.

-Ends

 

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New repair procedure for Cape Town youngster with malformed chest

Minimally invasive intervention available to treat sunken chest

Monday, January 29 2018

13-year-old Benjamin Kleyn of Cape Town, who was born with a condition that caused his chest to be concave, grew up a shy, withdrawn youngster who preferred not to participate in social activities and sports, according to his mother Petra Kleyn.

Now, after a minimally invasive procedure to correct the malformation in the sternum, a condition known as pectus excavatum (PE), undertaken at Netcare N1 City Hospital late last year, “Benjamin has dramatically changed from a boy into a young man”, his mother says.

The Nuss repair procedure, which involves temporarily placing curved metal bars behind the sternum to elevate it to a normal position, was one of the first of its kind to be completed within private medicine in the Western Cape, according to Professor Anthony Linegar, a surgeon who heads up the new PE treatment centre at Netcare N1 City Hospital and who performed Benjamin’s procedure.

“Previously, this disfiguring condition dramatically affected Benjamin’s confidence and he grew up a reserved and somewhat lethargic boy,” adds Kleyn. “Since the procedure in November last year, however, he has absolutely thrived, has been making new friends and was able to attend his first days at high school with great confidence. He even has the go-ahead to go zip-lining in Hermanus early in February! it is wonderful for me to see him coming into his own in this way.”

Prof Linegar says that pectus excavatum is one of a spectrum of congenital developmental problems affecting the cartilages of the chest wall. He notes that it is a relatively uncommon condition that sometimes runs in families, affecting approximately one person in 300 to 400 births. Some 90% of those with PE are male.

“Not only does PE cause the chest to have a distinctive and unusual inverted appearance, but it tends to displace the heart to the left of the chest cavity, thereby compressing its right ventricle. It also results in restricted movement of the chest wall.

“PE patients often lack the necessary stamina to participate in sports and other activities enjoyed by their peers. Adults with untreated PE have, furthermore, been known to suffer heart rhythm problems,” points out Prof Linegar, who practises in both the private and the public academic sector.

“In addition to the physical problems associated with this condition, it can also affect a young person’s psychosocial development, as it often has a profound impact on their self-esteem,” explains Prof Linegar.

Kleyn believes that many South African parents with children who suffer from severe PE are not aware that this procedure, which has not previously been widely performed in this country, is available to effectively repair the condition.

“Many of these youngsters have simply been left to deal as best they can with their condition, which can have an extremely negative impact on their quality of life. After Benjamin’s life-changing experience brought about by this procedure, I would like parents to know that many of the young people affected by PE can in fact be helped,” she says.

Prof Linegar concurs, pointing out that for various reasons — including the fact that few medical practitioners have been trained in the minimally invasive procedure, and the operation is not yet widely available in South Africa — a generation of PE sufferers in South Africa has not been treated for the condition.

“This problem can and must be addressed by both the private and public health sectors, as those impacted by PE can benefit greatly from the treatment.

“What we need is to create greater awareness of this condition as well as of the fact that this treatment is now available through dedicated multidisciplinary centres such as the one we have established here at Netcare N1 City Hospital,” says Prof Linegar.

“A number of South African medical schemes currently consider the procedure to be cosmetic and will consequently not cover it. This is despite the fact that PE can severely negatively impact the patient’s quality of life. Fortunately, in Benjamin Kleyn’s case we were able to motivate this and his procedure was covered by his medical scheme.”

Prof Linegar says that PE may be noticeable at birth but usually only becomes evident into the teen years. “It is best to perform the procedure when the affected individuals are still in their teens, when their bones are more malleable, and they can benefit from an early age.”

Prior to the introduction of the Nuss repair procedure, the only way to have PE corrected was to undergo a Ravitch operation, which is a substantial surgery, and many patients have opted to leave their PE untreated rather than undergo this operation.

Prof Linegar says the Nuss procedure, which was developed by an innovative South African paediatric surgeon, Professor David Nuss, and first performed in 1989, is a welcome alternative and should certainly be performed in appropriate cases at an expert dedicated multidisciplinary centre.

The procedure takes on average approximately 90 minutes. The bars that are put in to hold the sternum in position are inserted through two small incisions and left in place for a period of two to three years, after which they are removed.

Pic: An X-ray showing the special bars that were inserted during the procedure to correct Benjamin's malformed sternum.

“The Nuss procedure has a six week recovery period and can involve some post-operative pain but it has numerous benefits for young patients including a complete resolution of symptoms such as breathing problems.

“The intervention is completed without the need for major surgical incisions, avoids surgical scarring and disfigurement of the chest, and is much less invasive than the older modified Ravitch open surgery,” says Prof Linegar, who has trained extensively in the Nuss procedure and has driven the development of the PE treatment centre at the hospital.

Kleyn says that she is delighted with the outcome of her son’s life-changing procedure and was most impressed with the outstanding care he received at Netcare N1 City Hospital.

“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank Prof Linegar for his professionalism and expertise in undertaking the procedure, my medical scheme for funding it, as well as all of the wonderful staff who cared for us so well at Netcare N1 City Hospital, which I came to call home for the six days my son spent there,” she concludes.

Ends

Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare N1 City Hospital
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
Email: martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za, or pieter@mnapr.co.za

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Netcare The Bay Hospital takes delivery of germ-zapping robot

Pulsed Xenon UV technology to take the war on ‘superbugs’ to a new level

Tuesday, January 23 2018

Healthcare facilities the world over face a daily challenge to prevent the spread of infections and, with increasing concern about antibiotic resistance, healthcare group Netcare is teaming up with robots that seek and destroy viruses, bacteria and fungal spores within minutes.

Pic: Taking delivery of the new Xenex germ zapping robot at Netcare The Bay Hospital were, from left to right: nursing manager, Tersia Adams; general manager, Alan Abrahams; and infection prevention practitioner, Pranitha Mahadeo.

Netcare The Bay Hospital in Richards Bay is the latest facility in the Group to take delivery of a Xenex Pulsed Xenon UV disinfection robot. The robot was delivered earlier in January, and nursing staff members as well as cleaning staff from Tsebo, which provides cleaning services to the hospital, have already attended training sessions.

“Our new ‘ally’ in infection prevention and control has shown such impressive results internationally and during pilot trials at two of our hospitals, that Netcare recently ordered a second consignment of these highly advanced robots to further bolster our comprehensive existing disinfection measures,” says Alan Abrahams, general manager of Netcare The Bay Hospital.

Senior clinical advisor at Netcare, Dr Caroline Maslo, explains that the Xenex disinfection robots were recently made available in Africa for the first time, but are becoming an established line of defence against bacteria, viruses and fungi in healthcare facilities across Europe and the United States.

“Having tested the robots in different settings in the two facilities in separate provinces, we found that the results lived up to the independent international studies endorsing this method of disinfection,” Dr Maslo observes.

“What we found particularly impressive is the fact that the pulsed high-intensity xenon ultraviolet [UV] light used by the robot is not only highly effective in destroying viruses, bacteria and fungal spores, but is also able to achieve thorough disinfection far more quickly than the other traditional methods. Rigorous disinfection can be done within minutes, with minimal disruption to busy hospital areas, and the robots can be used 24 hours a day.”

The robot emits UV-C spectrum light, which destroys the DNA of bacteria, viruses and fungi to neutralise them and prevent them from replicating. The technology is entirely non-toxic, although the area must be vacated during the robot’s disinfection cycle, as our eyes are sensitive to the UV light.

“This form of disinfection is particularly useful against antibiotic resistant bacteria, commonly referred to as ‘superbugs’, and has the added benefit that it is non-toxic. It is environmentally friendly in that it requires no water during operation, thus rendering it optimally water-wise when compared with other forms of intensive disinfection, and it furthermore uses minimal electricity,” Dr Maslo says.

Another important benefit is that the robots’ UV light does not result in any residue or potentially harmful by-products, which means it is totally safe for use in even the most sensitive environments, such as neonatal intensive care units where premature and other compromised babies are cared for.

“The Xenex robot has proved itself as effective and efficient, while being tough on germs yet gentle on the environment. This new technology does not replace the infection risk management protocols and procedures we already have in place, but will be used alongside them as an additional weapon in our arsenal against potentially harmful germs,” Abrahams explains.

“Another benefit brought about by the arrival of the robots is that the cleaning staff members responsible for operating this technology are acquiring new sets of skills. This is not a case of robots replacing human labour, but rather of robots empowering their human operators.”

“Introducing this new disinfection technology in Netcare The Bay Hospital is a significant step forward and is keeping our facility abreast of the latest advances in the global fight against microbe resistance in healthcare facilities,” concludes Abrahams.



Pic: Some of Netcare The Bay Hospital’s nursing staff members and cleaners from Tsebo, the cleaning services provider to the hospital, who attended a training session on the operation of the new Xenex germ zapping robot


Pic: Some of the cleaning staff members of Tsebo, the cleaning services provider to Netcare The Bay Hospital, who attended a training session on the operation of the new Xenex germ zapping robot.






Ends

Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare The Bay Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za or  pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

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Upgrade of catheterisation laboratory at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital completed

Netcare St Anne’s Hospital

Friday, January 19 2018

The cardiac centre at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg has re-opened its upgraded catheterisation laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility in which a range of cardiovascular diseases can be diagnosed and treated using minimally invasive interventions.

Commenting on the upgrades, Netcare St Anne’s Hospital general manager, Louis Joubert, said that the catheterisation laboratory had been completely upgraded and equipped with the latest technologies. Another first for the hospital is that it now also offers a range of heart rhythm disorder treatment services.

“We are tremendously excited by these developments, which expanded and strengthen the cardiac services offered at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital cardiac centre to the benefit of patients from the greater Pietermaritzburg and KZN Midlands areas who are suffering from any form of cardiovascular disease or heart rhythm disorders,” added Joubert.

“Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital also extends a warm welcome to cardiologist, Dr Kevin Michael, who specialises in electrophysiology, or the electrical system of the heart, and heart rhythm disorders, as well as interventional cardiologist, Dr Yuvashnee Govender. They joined our existing team of cardiologists, Dr Kyi Shein, Dr Sanjay Maharaj, Dr Aine Mugabi and Dr Elias Baig,” added Joubert.

Joubert explains that a catheterisation laboratory is a facility with diagnostic imaging equipment used to visualise the vascular system and the chambers of the heart in order to accurately diagnose cardiovascular conditions, and to guide treatment through minimally invasive interventions.

“In appropriate cardiovascular cases, minimally invasive interventions are used instead of open surgery which typically involves larger surgical incisions and tend to be more physically traumatic with longer recovery periods.”

Joubert says that there has been an increased demand for such interventions in the Umgungundlovu district, and around the world in recent years. “We wanted our patients to have easy access to these services right here on their doorstep,” he observes.

“The technology and equipment installed in our new catheterisation laboratory includes a highly sophisticated Siemens Artis Q imaging device, which has a new generation X-ray tube and flat detector which decrease radiation doses and enhances both 2D and 3D imaging.”

 “We would like to thank our patients, doctors and staff members for their patience during the building and upgrade process,” says Joubert.

 “One of the goals of the upgrade was to ensure that our hospital is in a position to meet the treatment needs and exceed the expectations of our vascular and cardiac patients into the future. We want our patients to know that they always remain in safe hands when they are a patient at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital,” he concludes.

Ends

Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare St Anne’s Hospital
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
Email:  martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za, or  pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

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