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Patients in Kelowna can breathe easier because of new equipment

Kelowna General Hospital has a new dedicated portable ultrasound for the respiratory therapy department. .
Kelowna General Hospital has a new dedicated portable ultrasound for the respiratory therapy department. . Courtesy: KGH Foundation

Respiratory patients at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) can now breathe a sigh of relief.

A new portable ultrasound will be used by respirologists and thoracic surgeons to assess and treat pulmonary (lung) fluid collections and abscesses.

It will also be used to determine where chest tubes need to be inserted and to track them.

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“Ultrasound imaging allows respirologists and respiratory therapists to identify and make accurate diagnosis at patients’ bedside,” said Bob Somerville, a clinical supervisor from the respiratory therapy department, in a news release. “The unit’s portability and functionality provides information quickly, allowing for improved patient care.”

Kelowna’s hospital has seen a dramatic increase in respirology and thoracic surgery case volumes, particularly over the past five years, according to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation.

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In 2016, over 2,500 respirology and thoracic surgery patients were treated at KGH.

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Based on current volumes, the anticipated number of procedures requiring a thoracic ultrasound will be over 1,800 per year, which is an average of five procedures per day.

TB Vets Foundation donated $25,000 towards the purchase of the portable ultrasound.