Twelve children at the Bustamante Hospital for Children have benefited from minimally invasive life-saving cardiac procedures, at the facility’s state-of-the Cardiac Centre.
The one-week cardiac catheterisation mission, which took place from January 20 to 24, was sponsored by the United Kingdom-based charity, Chain of Hope.
Paediatric Cardiologist at the hospital, Dr Sharonne Forrester, explained the impact of the mission on the hospital’s operations.
“Having this mission assists us, because our local team works along with the visiting team, consisting of a cardiologist, radiographer, physiologist and nurses,” she said.
“They pass on their knowledge, so it’s a continuous learning process for us. It helps us in improving our skills looking after our more complex patients,” Dr Forrester added.
She pointed out that although there is a waiting list, the lab has been operational for just over a year and that missions have helped to get patients served in a timely manner.
“Since the opening of the lab, we have been having cardiac supporting missions almost every other month in the past year, and so this has helped us to whittle away at our list,” she shared.
“They pass on their knowledge, so it’s a continuous learning process for us.”— Dr Forrester
Dr Forrester noted that prior to the construction of the biplane cardiac catheterisation lab, patients had to be transported to the University Hospital of the West Indies.
She pointed out that having the lab on-site makes it easier in terms of logistics as well as for the training of the local team.
Dr Forrester advised that all children are chosen from the cardiology clinic using input from the entire cardiac team.
“That includes the cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons. We discuss the management of all patients and what kind of intervention is necessary,” she explained. She added that in the cardiac catheterisation lab, both diagnostic and interventional procedures are done.
“For the interventional procedures, we close small vessels or small holes that would otherwise have had to be done via surgery, so by using this method, we decrease hospital stay. They can go home the following day. They have shortened hospitalisation time and they are not left with a scar on the chest,” she noted. Dr Forrester pointed out that when there is no overseas mission, members of the local team continue to do cases.
“Every week we do cases on our own, so the lab is still being used between missions, and this helps us to keep our skills going,” she said, adding that the missions assist the local team with sharpening their skills to continue the programme on their own.