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Lithotripter cuts waiting times and saves hours of operation theatre time

By David Porter

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A new £400,000 treatment device at NHS Grampian is cutting waiting times and saving hours of surgeons time each month.

The north-east board’s Endowment Fund funded the launch of a lithotripsy service earlier this year.

The permanent lithotripter replaces a mobile service and provides improved and more effective treatment for patients with kidney stones.

Thanks to the new equipment which has already been used to treat more than 170 patients in the last six months medics can now treat more cases of kidney stones non-invasively.

Urology consultant Dr Ismail Mokadem said: “Lithotripsy is minimally invasive, patients require some painkillers without need for anaesthetic and the procedure lasts between 20 minutes and a hour.

“Patients are treated by a very well trained local team of clinicians, radiographers and nurses.

“Side effects are very rare and the risk is lower than surgery.

“The introduction of the onsite lithotripsy service has tripled our capacity to treat patients with stone disease with one of the least invasive techniques available.

“Previously, we were limited to endoscopic procedures which were performed with general anaesthetic or we relied on the visiting service which was only available every six weeks and was not as patient centred as the new on site lithotripsy service.

“As the new service is on site, it enables us to offer emergency treatment to patients during the same admission or the latest within two weeks.

“This had a significant impact on emergency theatre utilisation and on readmission rates due to pain and allows patients to return faster to their normal lives.”

Dr Mokadem praised the positive impact the addition was having on north-east patients.

“The new service significantly reduces waiting times for other urological procedures too. “As more and more patients are treated in the Lithotripsy suite, this has freed more theatre time and capacity to treat other urological conditions.” he said.

Prior to the launch of the service at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary clinicians relied on a touring service.

He said: “We had the mobile lithotripter visiting every six weeks.

“There wasn’t much flexibility, patients received treatment then it could be three months before the next session.

“Now we treat the patients and we can see if the stone hasn’t responded and get them another session sooner, rather than waiting on another visit by the touring lithotripsy.

“Our latest figures show 91per cent success rate for cases who have completed their treatment with an excellent patient satisfaction rates on their feedback.

“It has made a huge difference and we’re so incredibly grateful to the NHS Grampian Endowment Fund for allowing us to purchase this fantastic piece of equipment.”

Manager of the NHS Grampian Endowment Fund, Sheena Lonchay said she was: “delighted the charity has been able to support the project”.

Sheena went on to add that the charity’s investment in the ICU reflected the generosity of patients and their families in recognising the care they have received from the team.

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