NEW technology available at the X-Ray Group in Albury is expected to offer drastically better outcomes for patients with suspected heart conditions.
A new tool in echocardiography, a non-invasive ultrasound of the heart used to measure things like the size of cardiac chambers and blood flow dynamics among others, has been added.
Global Longitudinal Strain (GLS) is able to detect subtle changes and accurately predict heart failure years in advance – offering patients and physicians a crucial head-start in treatment.
Cardiologist Dr Kugan Nadarasa said GLS was an important step forward for regional patients.
“We have been performing echocardiograms for many years – we are always striving to improve the quality of the information we get from them,” he said.
“Over the past four decades there have been a few other modalities we have tried in order to improve.
“One of those has been strain imaging.
“Studies have shown GLS can accurately predict heart failure in the long term.”
The new technology is so advanced it can detect heart issues before symptoms have presented.
Dr Nadarasa said this would allow patients to make lifestyle changes in the short term in order to avoid future health complications.
“Coronary disease causing myocardial infarction is the most common cause of death in Australia,” he said.
“Early detection is important because the most common causes of coronary disease are lifestyle factors such as smoking, cholesterol and high blood pressure.
“This technology allows patients to be motivated to reduce their risks in the long run.”
Cardiac services manager for the X-Ray Group Ian Brockett said the availability of GLS on the Border would significantly reduce treatment times for patients in the North East.
“We want to provide non-invasive testing to such a level that no patient will have to travel to Sydney or Melbourne for these kinds of diagnostic services,” he said.
“This is very important to oncology patients.
“Certain chemotherapies can affect the heart and cause heart failure – we're now able to detect them much earlier.
“The impact this will have is that treatment times will be reduced significantly.
“We have shorter wait times, allowing physicians to move on with treatment.”