Saturday, November 20, 2004

Biplane Angiography

Photo Gallery for this article: UHN Campaign

In my talks about funding for the transplant program at Toronto General Hospital I've been bragging about our status as a world-class transplantation institution. But that's only one of many areas the University Health Network has international recognition for.

On November 10, 2004 following a University Health Network (UHN) Campaign meeting, Dr. Karel G. TerBrugge gave our group a tour of the new Biplane Angiography Suite at the Toronto Western Hospital.

Dr. TerBrugge is Chief of neuroradiology at Toronto Western. He is an interventional neuroradiologist specializing in the treatment of patients with brain vascular disorders, especially brain aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, and acute stroke. He is internationally recognized in his specialty, and a co-founder of the The Toronto Brain Vascular Malformation Study Group . He is a professor at the University of Toronto. He teaches and supervises medical students, residents and clinical fellows.

Dr. TerBrugge explained that the biplane system takes very detailed and clear X-ray pictures. By watching these images, physicians can thread extremely fine catheters through blood vessels that lead directly to problem areas of the brain. Once there they can seal off aneurysms, destroy clots, choke off the blood supply to tumors and open up clogged arteries with stents——all without surgery.

Blood vessels can be viewed from two different angles at the same time with the biplane system. The old imaging equipment gave a view of the brain in only one plane, making it difficult to navigate some arteries or enter some aneurysms or branch vessels.

This new system offers three-dimensional rotational angiography. After dye is shot into a blood vessel, the machine spins on a 180-degree axis, giving three-dimensional information about an aneurysm. See the picture on the monitor behind Dr. TerBrugge in this photo:

For a panoramic view of the Biplane Angiography Suite:Angiography Suite

Now, a patient with a ruptured aneurysm can go directly to the operating room, have a diagnostic arteriorgram performed, and a decision can be made immediately on an open surgery or endovascular procedure.

The biplane systems gives the University Health Network here in Toronto a world class, state-of-the-art facility for treating interventional vascular disorders. But it does not come cheap. Dr. TerBrugge showed us one of the stents used to open clogged arteries. To me it looked like a small plastic cap such as one would find at the end of a tiny squeeze bottle. But looks are deceiving because those little stents cost $4000 each. Wow!

The more I see of the wonderful accomplishments and initiatives UHN is taking to push the envelope in achieving excellence in research and education the more motivated I am to help achieve our campaign funding goals.

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