Call for speedier treatment for patients who suffer from mini-stroke

Mini-stroke victims ‘miss out on vital care’

By Nick Triggle Health reporter, BBC News

Mini-strokes often lead to a full-blown attack

Mini stroke tia
Mini-strokes often lead to a full-blown attack

Many patients at high risk of stroke are not getting the specialist treatment they need, an audit found.

People who suffer a mini-stroke are meant to undergo neck surgery to help prevent a full-blown attack.

The Royal College of Physicians and Vascular Society found just a third of 3,000 patients had the op by the two-week deadline, and many did not get it.

About 500 lives a year could be saved, they said. The government said progress had been made on stroke services.

Mini-strokes – or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) as they are known – will often lead to a full-blown attack.

This audit shows that there is still a long way to go to make sure people get urgent preventative treatment that could prevent a catastrophic stroke”

Nikki Hill Stroke Association

However, one in five full strokes can be prevented through an operation known as a carotid endarterectomy to unblock the arteries.

This has to be done within 14 days of symptoms showing to be really effective.

But the review of more than 3,000 cases showed only 1,005 were done within that timeframe. The average wait was 28 days.

Lack of GP referral, hospital staff and equipment were all highlighted as key problems.

The audit concluded that stroke services would be best concentrated in fewer, larger centres to ensure adequate staffing and resources were available.

However, not all the delays were down to the NHS – nearly a fifth of patients waited too long before seeking help.

Read the full article about mini stroke and TIA

Southampton cardiologist develops a 3D heart-scanning technique.

A screen image of multiplane review (MPR) 3D echocardiography
Dr Joseph Vettukattil pioneered its development at Southampton General Hospital

A leading cardiologist from Southampton is the first to develop a technique to “slice” 3D images of the heart into sections using computer software.

The method is known as multiplane review (MPR) 3D echocardiography.

It allows the user to identify heart defects more accurately than on traditional 2D or standard 3D scans.

Dr Joseph Vettukattil pioneered its development at Southampton General Hospital to identify heart abnormalities present from birth.

He said: “It helps us to cut the virtual heart (the image that the MPR 3D echocardiography produces) and slice it in any place we want, and expose the defects which helps us to understand what is wrong, and what we can do to fix it.”

Read the full article HERE

Scots woman with chronic nerve pain fitted with a neurostimulator implan

  • Wii operation
    Dr Gordon McGinn fitted the new `neurostimulator implant’ at Glasgow’s New Victoria Hospital.
  • Wii consoles Scots patients in pain

    Helen McArdle

    16 Jul 2010
    It is a bestselling games system that millions of people play in their lounges and bedrooms, but now the technology behind Wii consoles has been used for the first time in a Scottish operating theatre.

    A new pain-relief implant that mimics Wii-style technology was trialled in Glasgow yesterday.

    Ailsa MacKenzie-Summers, 42, from East Kilbride, became the first patient to benefit from the new technology when NHS Greater

    Glasgow and Clyde’s Dr Gordon McGinn fitted the neurostimulator implant at Glasgow’s New Victoria Hospital.

    The implant uses state-of-the-art Wii-style motion-sensing technology to provide pain relief automatically whenever a patient moves around. At present most implants require the patient to constantly adjust the amount of pain relief according to their movements.

    Read the full article HERE

    Scottish company Touch Bionics win International Business Award

    Touch Bionics, developer of advanced upper-limb bionic technologies and clinical solutions, today announced that it has won the award for the Most Innovative Company of the Year in Europe in the 2010 International Business Awards. The International Business Awards are the only global, all-encompassing business awards program honouring great performances in business.

    Nicknamed the Stevie® for the Greek word “crowned,” the awards will be presented to winners at a gala dinner on Monday, 27 September in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey.

    In the application process for the award, Touch Bionics was assessed on its progress in innovation over the past year, which included the launches of both its ProDigits partial hand solution and its new prosthetic hand device, the i-LIMB Pulse. Honourees were selected through two rounds of judging by business professionals worldwide. More than 1,700 entries were received from organizations and individuals in more than 40 nations.

    Other companies recognised as Distinguished Honourees in the same category topped by Touch Bionics included major brands like H&M, Nestle and SAP.

    “Winning an International Business Award is a demonstration of Touch Bionics’ outstanding innovation and business success over the past year, and to win ahead of some of the biggest names in global business is a tremendous achievement,” said Stuart Mead, Touch Bionics’ CEO. “Innovation is at the core of this company and, from the launch of our first product, the i-LIMB Hand, we have never stopped innovating to ensure we continue to lead the world in the field of commercial bionic technology.”

    “Despite the harsh economic climate, entries to the IBAs actually grew a bit this year, and that illustrates the increasing importance of The International Business Awards worldwide,” said Michael Gallagher, president of The Stevie Awards, presenters of the IBAs. “We congratulate all of the Finalists and International Stevie Awards winners, and we look forward to honouring them for their achievements at our gala awards dinner in Istanbul on 27 September.”

    Telecare equipment to monitor patients in their homes

    Rebecca McQuillan

    12 Jul 2010

    Despite suffering from daily seizures, Angela Stark can live at home, monitored by carers. Pic: Stewart Attwood

    Angela Stark never knows when she’s about to have an epileptic seizure.

    “One minute I could be standing, the next I could be down on the floor,” she says. The 40-year-old from Cowdenbeath might be in her sitting room, surrounded by glass ornaments, or lying in bed, but a seizure is always risky. She is prone to tonic chlonic seizures, probably the most serious type, which first make the body go stiff and then cause the limbs to jerk. Angela has one every week. They can cause injury and difficulty breathing; sometimes, if they go on for more than five minutes, she needs medical help.

    Yet Angela lives alone. How can she manage to do that? Because of telecare guardian angel gadgets throughout her home, which ensure she is watched over remotely 24 hours a day. They can detect when Angela is having a fit so that a carer can be sent to help her.

    Angela, who was diagnosed six years ago, relies on two devices in particular. The first is a bed mat that detects sudden repeated bumps indicating that she is having a seizure. She’s lost count of the number of times it has been activated. Sometimes it takes five minutes for the carer to arrive, sometimes 15 minutes, but for Angela, the important thing is knowing that someone will come to her aid.

    “It’s a lifesaver,” she says solemnly. “It’s so important because I might have fallen out of bed. Sometimes they have to get the paramedics out. If I just kept fitting, that could be it.”

    She also has a fall trigger pendant, on a cord round her neck. If it is knocked horizontal, indicating she may have fallen, it sends a wireless signal to a detector unit, which alerts call handlers via a phone line. The emergency team immediately call to speak to Angela; if they get no response, they send someone straight round.

    “The pendant and bed sensor have given me real peace of mind,” says Angela. “They’re brilliant. People wouldn’t be able to live on their own if this equipment didn’t exist.”

    Click the link to read the full article on Telecare and Healthcare Technology at home

    Innovative approaches to reduction in hospital admissions.

    Industry and academia are asked for ideas which will provide innovative approaches to reduction in hospital admissions.

    This challenge is being launched by South Central SHA. It is looking to all sectors – both within and outside the NHS to bring new technologies and new practice to bear on the achievement of an ambitious target of

    a 20% reduction in admissions to hospital within the next 2 years.

    Successful responses will offer the following benefits:

    Efficiency – responsive to the quality and productivity agenda

    Scale – wide impact

    Acceptability – improves patient and staff experience

    Cost – sound return on the investment

    Pace – rapid results

    Evidence – clinically acceptable

    More detail on the challenge is listed on the Technology Strategy Board website:

    The SBRI Team.

    Technology Strategy Board

    A1, North Star House

    North Star Avenue


    SN2 1JF

    Switchboard: +44 1793 442700

    Raigmore Hospital shows benefactors its new echo heart scanner in action

    Raigmore demonstrates use of £49,000 portable ultrasound to charities who helped raise the cash

    By mike farrell

    Published: 07/07/2010

    New equipment funded by local charities has been donated to a Highland hospital to provide a speedier diagnosis of heart conditions.

    The Highland Heartbeat Centre at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness has been given a new portable ultrasound, known as an echo heart scanner, costing £49,000.

    The machine uses sound to take detailed images of the heart to determine what conditions it is suffering from.

    The Monadhliath Heartbeat Challenge raised £27,000 towards the purchase of the scanner, while the remaining £22,000 was donated by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

    Organisers of the annual charity biathlon and BHF representatives met with consultant cardiologist Dr Stephen Cross at the hospital yesterday to see how the equipment was being put to use.

    Dr Cross said: “I think the scanner will definitely be a big help to patients with heart conditions.

    “We have already seen the benefits of it so far and we will hopefully be able to continue this good work through the challenge with the help of BHF to bring further equipment to the centre.”

    Dunbar Medical Centre launches first Patient Care Messaging in Scotland

    iPLATO Healthcare, the leader in mHealth, announced today that two practices at the Dunbar Medical Centre in east Lothian recently became the first GP Surgeries in Scotland to launch iPLATO Patient Care Messaging. In response to patient preferences for mobile communication in primary care the system is expected to reduce waiting times for GP appointments and enable GP-led, personalised and timely public health promotion.

    According to Edinburgh Evening News last year around 124,000 people missed a hospital or GP appointment across NHS Lothian at a cost of nearly £17 million. Ultimately funded by NHS Lothian this initiative seeks to improve access to primary care services as well as drive efficiencies and reduce costs.

    In a statement from the two GP surgeries, the partners say “We are pleased to have the opportunity to pilot this service on behalf of East Lothian CHP (Community Health Partnership), to see if we can improve communication between practice and patients. It should make it easier to remind our patients when check-ups are due, and so lead to improved care for long-term conditions which need regular review. Receiving reminders is free of charge to the patient. We encourage all our patients to hand in their mobile phone number to us so that they can benefit from this service.”

    “Launching in Lothian with two of the practices at the Dunbar Medical Centre is a big, long term, opportunity for us but also for patients, healthcare professionals and payers in Scotland,” says Tobias Alpsten, Managing Director at iPLATO. “Across a patient population comparable to Scotland’s, iPLATO Patient Care Messaging freed up more than 100,000 GP appointments last year through SMS cancellations alone. Based on our experiences elsewhere, iPLATO Patient Care Messaging should be able to save NHS Scotland more than 200,000 GP appointments per year if deployed nationally. The smart public health promotion enabled by iPLATO  Patient Care Messaging further adds to its appeal.”

    London doctors use Wii-style technology to relieve chronic back pain

    Hope over pain relief implant which uses Wii technology

    By Fergus Walsh
    Medical correspondent, BBC News

    Robert Mason
    Robert Mason said he was delighted with the results

    A new type of pain relief implant for chronic back and leg disorders which uses Wii-style technology has been used for the first time in Britain.

    Doctors at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London installed the neurostimulator in a patient left in pain from an accident.

    The device uses motion-sensing technology to adjust the level of pain relief being administered.

    The patient, Robert Mason, 35, from Berkshire, said he was delighted.

    Neurostimulators have already been approved for use in the NHS by the health watchdog NICE.

    Wires implanted in the spinal cord deliver mild electrical signals which helps to mask the body’s pain signals with a tingling sensation.

    But when a patient moves position they frequently require adjustment to vary the level of stimulation, otherwise patients can end up with a surge of pain.

    Constant pain

    The new device has a motion sensor, similar to those found in a Nintendo Wii or iPhone. It uses the force and direction of gravity to sense the patient’s position.

    Up until the treatment, Mr Mason had endured severe and constant pain in his back and left leg ever since an accident eight years ago. Nothing, even the most powerful pain-killers, had worked.

    “My pain has been a constant eight out of 10, like the worst toothache you can imagine. I get about two hours sleep a night at best, and then only in short bursts.”

    Click the link to read more about Wii-style technology