Posted on April 11, 2016

On Thursday 7 April, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) officially opened its state-of-the-art Neuroangiography Suite at Hamad General Hospital (HGH), providing an advanced treatment technology for patients with serious blood vessel disorders in the brain and spine. Patients with acute stroke, tumors, vascular malformations and brain aneurysms, as well as children with developmental disorders in their blood vessels, will be among those to benefit from the cutting-edge technology in the new facility.

“Due to the prevalence of risk factors such as diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol, the incidence of acute and chronic vascular disorders of the central nervous system is high in Qatar. This is evidenced by the fact that HMC sees more than 1,000 acute stroke patients each year,” explained Her Excellency Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, who attended a ribbon cutting ceremony along with senior HMC clinicians involved in the development and operation of the facility.

“The Neuroangiography Suite adds to HMC’s existing portfolio of advanced services for these patients. Today’s official opening highlights Qatar’s commitment to expand and improve the quality of specialized care services in the public health sector,” said H.E. Al KuwariOne of the key strengths of the facility is the advanced bi-plane angiography CT imaging it offers. Angiography is an imaging technique used to view the inside of blood vessels and organs of the body, especially the arteries, veins and the heart chambers, according to Dr. Ahmed Own, Chairman of Neuroradiology at HMC.

“The Neuroangiography Suite is the first and only facility in Qatar to offer bi-plane angiography, CT imaging and perfusion imaging of the brain - a technique that shows the quality of blood supply. These views are captured simultaneously by the imaging technology in the Neuroangiography Suite, which produces only low levels of radiation exposure. This complex imaging system results in highly detailed three-dimensional views of blood vessels leading to the brain and deep within the brain,’ explained Dr. Own.

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“The images are then displayed simultaneously from two separate angles. This allows the neuro-interventional team to have the very best view of the arteries and vessels and see the precise location and make up of a clot, tumor or aneurism while they perform the procedure. These high quality images can help to reduce the duration of the procedure by as much as half,” added Dr. Own. It is expected that more than 200 cases will be treated in the Neuroangiography Suite in the first year, improving the quality of care and outcomes for these patients. The suite will be utilized by the acute stroke, neuro-interventional and vascular surgery teams, as well as the pediatric cardiology team who will use the facility to treat children with heart problems.

HMC’s Neurosciences Institute has led the establishment of the Neuroangiography Suite. The institute is a key element of HMC’s academic health vision – undertaking research to identify effective new treatments for neurological conditions. The location of the Neuroangiography Suite has been carefully planned. By situating the facility close to the Emergency Department (ED), the time for acute stroke patients between initial assessment in the ED and being operated on is kept to a minimum. This is particularly important in cases of acute stroke, as Professor Ashfaq Shuaib, Director of the Neurosciences Institute, explained: “Fast and specialized medical intervention is the key to successful treatment for stroke patients. Time is brain, meaning the faster treatment can be given following a stroke, the better the chances of recovery.”

The Neuroangiography Suite is the latest development in a range of recent improvements for stroke patients. The redesign of a specialized stroke service, including a dedicated Stroke Ward at HGH and the formation of a multi-disciplinary care team, has led to a range of improvements in stroke care. The average length of stay has been reduced as a result of faster recovery in the Stroke Ward, greater numbers of patients now receive thrombolysis - a clot-busting medication - and more patients undergo an advanced mechanical process to extract blood clots. These improved processes have led to higher rates of recovery with fewer complications.