DG Murray Trust Donates a Catheterisation Laboratory to Tygerberg Hospital Worth R12 Million | Western Cape Government

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DG Murray Trust Donates a Catheterisation Laboratory to Tygerberg Hospital Worth R12 Million

6 December 2011

A Catheterisation Laboratory was donated to Tygerberg Hospital in the year 2000. Since then, it had become less reliable and needed to be replaced by newer, more modern equipment.

The DG Murray Trust, who donated the previous Cath Lab, agreed to donate a new Catheterisation Laboratory to the hospital and installed it earlier this year. The first patients were investigated on the new Cath Lab on 5 July and since then 500 patients have been investigated and treated using the new equipment.

The Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said, "I thank DG Murray Trust for their generous donation. The provincial health budget is primarily directed towards primary health care and specialised equipment such as the Cath can only be acquired and maintained with the support of donations such as these. Taking into account that since the installation of the cardiac catheterisation lab, 500 patients have benefited from it."

The old Cath Lab is being kept as a backup, should another patient need urgent management or for some other purpose eg visualisation of the heart via x-rays while a permanent pacemaker is being inserted.

At the time when the new laboratory was installed at the hospital, several other improvements were made to the Cardiac Department. These include upgraded ultrasound facilities for cardiography investigations, better staff facilities and even a small museum displaying old cardiac equipment.

The value of the new Catheterisation Laboratory equipment amounts to approximately R13 million, and the infrastructure upgrades an additional R1.5 million (the latter paid for by Western Cape Government Health).

The Catheterisation Laboratory is used for cardiac diagnostic work (eg looking for and measuring the blockage of coronary arteries in the heart) and also therapeutic procedures such as correcting cardiac valve problems and cardiac pacemaker lead insertions. It is an essential part of central/tertiary service provision. It is also needed for research and training of postgraduate clinical staff.

It consists of advanced x-ray equipment to visualise the heart in action while the patient lies in the machine, and a high-speed computer system to capture digital movies and measurements of the functioning of the beating heart. The images and measurements are displayed on several large computer screens in the Catheterisation Laboratory suite. This information is stored and analysed in the other main component of the system, namely the haemodynamic system, so that the cardiologist can refine the diagnosis prior to correcting the heart problem medically or via surgery.

It may be possible to repair some defects using instruments inserted through tubes (catheters) that pass through suitable veins to the heart. In this case the Catheterisation Laboratory is often used to allow the doctor to see (via x-rays) what he is doing inside the patient's heart. Should it not be possible to correct the problem in this way, the patient may be referred to a cardiothoracic surgeon for more extensive open heart surgery.

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