A very generous £17,500 contribution was made by the League of Friends to purchase a portable Doppler Ultrasound Machine. This machine can assess blood flow in vessels in the body. The advantages are that it is a portable unit and can be easily transported around the hospital to wards and theatre. Since its purchase it has been in use virtually every day, reducing the number of trips by sick patients to the Vascular and Diabetes Unit.
The machine can be used to assess narrowing if arteries in the legs and has helped reduce the waiting list for patients seen in the one-stop vascular clinics. Patients are tested on the equipment and then seen by a surgeon the same day reducing the number of trips to the hospital for the elderly.
All of our aortic aneurysm patients are now scanned on this portable machine. An aneurysm is a widening of a blood vessel. There is an increased incidence of aneurysms of the main blood vessel in the tummy (aorta) in men over the age of 65. At present these are often picked up as an incidental finding on other hospital tests. Whilst many of these aneurysms will not increase in size some do and it is important that they are monitored regularly so that an operation (if needed) can be planned and carried out before emergency treatment is required. The purchase of this equipment has allowed this surveillance service to expand.
In the future a programme to undertake screening of men over 65 will pick up these aneurysms earlier and will reduce the need for emergency operations. Training of staff is taking place at present and it is hoped that the portable Doppler ultrasound equipment will be used in a screening programme in the community. It means that the machine can be transported by car and patients can be scanned at their local GP surgery.
All the staff at the Vascular and Diabetes Unit would like to offer their thanks to the League of Friends and especially to Mr Foster who instigated this huge donation. The equipment will continue to help improve our patients’ experience of Vascular testing for years to come.
Linda Harris, Vascular Technologist