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Health tech goes high-end at no extra cost

Diagnostic technology that produces accurate results with minimal harm and discomfort to the patient at no added cost is where healthcare is headed the world over. How medically aware are you? take the quiz

health and fitness Updated: Oct 22, 2012 01:21 IST
HT Correspondents

Diagnostic technology that produces accurate results with minimal harm and discomfort to the patient at no added cost is where healthcare is headed the world over.

This week, Delhi hit a bonanza with a hospital acquiring in one go a low-radiation CT scanner to identify internal disorders, a non-invasive robotic radiosurgery system for cancers, a non-invasive digital microscope-incubator technology that increases chances of a successful in-vitro fertilisation, and a test that can screen newborns for hundreds of diseases.

Put together, these will result in accurate diagnosis, treatment and better patient outcome.

CT scanner with low radiation

Cost per scan: Rs. 2,500—Rs. 7,000

The Discovery CT750-HD scanner uses digital geometry processing to generate a three-dimensional image of the inside of the body to identify disorders in the brain, heart, neck, lungs, spine, chest and abdomen. It is the world’s most advanced machine that halves a patient’s exposure to radiation at no added cost. The technique is safer, more comfortable and more accurate.

Installed at Mahajan Imaging Centre in Hauz Khas within two months of it being approved for use in the United States, it lowers radiation exposure to one-fifth of that of a conventional cardio-angiogram when used to detect heart diseases. The cost is the same as that for a conventional CT scan.

“Much lower radiation is needed for diagnosis and a person has to undergo only one (contrast) CT, which saves the radiation of an entire set. A person is exposed to only one scan,” said Dr Harsh Mahajan, who installed GE Healthcare’s Discovery CT750-HD Freedom Edition at the Hauz Khas centre.

Lowering radiation makes scanning safer, especially for babies, children, women and people who have to get follow-up scans done frequently. The machine is also a boon for people getting a CT scan of the heart done, as the fine imaging quality of the scan not only gives the exact picture of the blockage but also gives out the composition of the blockage.

“In heart patients, calcification in the arteries usually does not allow for a clear image of the arterial blockage. If there is 50% or less blockage, tests such as stress cardio are not very useful. This machine can pick up heart diseases early and prevent heart attacks and strokes,” said Dr JPS Sawhney, chairman, department of cardiology at New Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

BabyShield Newborn Screening
Cost: Rs. 5,000
Now newborns can be screened non-invasively for as many as 118 conditions at birth. Using samples from the child’s umbilical cord soon after birth and urine sample retrieved after 48 hours of baby’s birth, the tests reports of 118 metabolic and blood related ailments can be got within five days.

“The test is a safe and non-invasive secure service that causes no harm to the baby,” said Mayura Abhaya, executive director, Lifecell International. The company is known primarily for banking cord blood cells. “We have also tied up with government hospitals, including AIIMS and Lok Nayak,” Abhaya said.

Among the top metabolic diseases tested are phenylketonuria (baby is born without the ability to properly break down an amino acid called phenylalanine), MCAD deficiency (disorder of fatty acid oxidation that impairs the body’s ability to break down fatty acids), galactosemia (disorder that of processing simple sugar called galactose). Congenital hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, and non-malignant blood disorders are also checked.

CyberKnife VSI Robotic Radiosurgery System
Cost: Rs. 2 lakh on an average, depending on the site and complexity of the tumour.
After Apollo Hospitals acquired a Cyberknife three years ago, two private hospitals in Delhi-NCR — BLK Super Specialty and Medanta-The Medicity — have acquired the system for the treatment of tumours.

The latest generation of robotic radio surgery system in Asia, the CyberKnife VSI, is a non-invasive alternative to treat tumours in the prostate, lungs, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidneys.

The treatment is painless and with little or no recovery period, allowing patients to almost immediately return to normal activity. Each session lasts between 30 and 90 minutes, with the radiation being given in phases that may extend up to five sessions.

Digital Microscope-Incubator technology for IVF
Cost: Rs. 1.75 lakh
Fortis Bloom IVF Centre, Fortis La Femme hospital, now offers a Digital Microscope-Incubator technology to enhance the success rate of IVF. Embryos are normally implanted after two, three or five days in culture, and women are usually implanted with two or three embryos, which leads to twins or triplets.

“This technology analyses the embryo quality. It enables doctors to identify the good embryos and increases transfer of good embryos and thus enhanced success of IVF treatment,” said Dr Hrishikesh Pai, gynaecologist and infertility expert at the Fortis La Femme Hospital.

IVF success rates currently stand at about 30% to 40% per attempt in women less than 35 years of age. This technology would enable doctors to put two or one embryo back, without compromising pregnancy rates, decreasing the chances of the woman having twins or triplets.

How medically aware are you? take the quiz