Portable ultrasound machine makes big difference to young Alberta cardiac patients

A new cardiac ultrasound is making life easier for young patients across northern Alberta. Global News

A new piece of technology is about to make life a lot easier for young cardiac patients across northern Alberta.

It’s a portable ultrasound machine called “Vivid Q” and it’s the size of a laptop computer. It will be used at outreach clinics in northern cities like Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, High Level, Red Deer and Yellowknife, meaning families won’t have to make the long trip to Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital for testing.

The innovative cardiac ultrasound can make an immediate diagnosis as well as determine how the heart is functioning, often reducing the number of invasive procedures.

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“We can see more patients, and go through more cities,” Dr. Yashu Coe, pediatric cardiologist at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, said.

It’s expected between 20 and 30 patients will be examined at each outreach clinic, resulting in fewer trips to Edmonton, saving families time and money.

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“It’s going to save a lot of money for the families because they’ll be using the machines in remote areas,” Andreina Castro said. Castro is the mother of 13-year-old twins who’ve been treated for a cardiac condition since birth. “You have to drive five hours, stay with friends, or family, or a hotel and you have to be away from your home.”

The Fort McMurray family has been traveling to the Stollery for regular check-ups which will now be replaced by scans from the ultrasound machine.

The ultrasound cost over $80,000 and was funded by Treasure Life, a non-profit organization that supports the medical journeys of pediatric heart patients receiving treatment at Stollery Children’s Hospital.

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