By Sola Ogundipe
Regular screening with cutting edge technology of Nigerians who have attained the age of 40 and above, has been recommendedÂ as is the way forward in controlling the morbidity andÂ mortality of cardiovascular disorders (CVDs)Â in Nigeria.
Chief Executive Officer, Abuja Clinics, Abuja, Dr. Patrick OnyechiÂ made theÂ call in Abuja during the official visit of the President/CEO of General Electric Healthcare, Mr John Dineen.
â€œProper and prompt screening as the only way of effectively managing the menace of CVDs notably cardiac disorders,â€ he observed during the official presentation of the General Electric LightSpeed Volume Computed Tomography (VCT)Â and dedicated cardiac system installed in the Clinic by General Electric Healthcare.
CVDs are the number one cause of mortality globally and their management presents challenges around cost effectiveness and innovation required to address the needs properly.
Describing the Lightspeed VCT device – said to be the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa – as a â€œwondeful medical toolâ€, the CEO observed that quick, accurate diagnoses can now be made without the need for invasive diagnostic procedures.
â€œThis device is useful in diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. In our environment about 30Â per cent of disorders are due to cardiovascular events, with 30 million Nigeriand having CVDs but the number is probably higher. Those who can afford to go for accurate screening with devices such as this usually need toÂ go abroad, but now these services are available here in Nigeria for everyone to access.â€
UrgingÂ General Electric healthcare toÂ offer the right support to match its â€œamazing technology.â€, Onyechi avowed that by insisting on high ethical and professional standards, coupled with the right assistance and guidance, health professionals in Nigeria are ready to make the required difference in the nationâ€™s health indices Lightspeed VCT is the worldâ€™s first volume CT 64-slice scanner that non-invasively scans the entire human body in less than 10 seconds flat, capturing images of the heart and coronary arteries in fewer than five heart beats – a feat no other 64-slice CT scanner is able to offer.
In a chat, Consultant Radiologist, Abuja Clinics, Dr. Nnaemeka Udezue said theÂ increase inÂ cardiovascular disorders in the Nigerian environment, was attributable to negativeÂ dietary changes and sedentary lifestyle.
â€œOur diet which has changed is to blame. We do not walk around as before, we eat too much fast food, tand no longer indulge in theÂ kind ofÂ food in which our ancestors indulged. There is a lot of cholesterol in what we eat and this collects on the walls of the blood vessels giving rise to the increase in cardiovascular diseases.â€ device isÂ the first proper cardiac VCT which enables examination of the heart.
Commenting on the prowess of the new scanner, he said the problem with previous scanners has to do with fact that the heart is a moving object. â€œSo the images are blurred. But now we are able to take pictures of the heart in between beats, that is catch the heart just before it contracts.
â€œWith this it is possible to see the blood vessels which are so small that the oldest scanners cannot pick up in detail, while this one can. The benefit to the patient is that now we can now accurately diagnose causes of complaints such as chest pain and others which were not so easy with older scanners.â€
Cost of utilising the device which begins from N60,000Â is however viewed in relationÂ toÂ benefits to the patient.Â Said Udezue: â€œThis cost is just a fraction of what the patient would have obtained elsewhere. More importantÂ is the ease of the procedure as the patient can go home in about 15 minutes and get the result later same day or the next day.
The GE healthcare President/CEO however assured that the company is set to establish local presence in Nigeria with itsÂ Â Â Â Healthmagination initiative which is about understanding what technology is useful to the local arena.