Ultrasound scanning upgrades

23:17, Oct 15 2012

Expectant mothers will soon have access to the latest in real-time "4D" ultrasound imagery in South Canterbury.

The machine, valued at almost $250,000, could be purchased by the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) within the next two months.

Gynaecologist Albert Makary said the machine will provide a clearer image than the SCDHB's current 4D model. It will also mean specialists are better equipped to screen for abnormalities like Down syndrome.

"We've had this [4D service] for a while, but we are upgrading to another one.

"The next one, the quality of the picture will be even better. It's like a flat screen TV - when the number of megapixels [increase] it gives you a more crisp photo.

"The capital has been located so now it's a matter of us choosing the best one."


The machine will serve patients at Jean Todd Maternity.

SCDHB was one of the first in New Zealand to offer free screening to pregnant women, a service people believed would not last, Dr Makary said.

The service is funded by the public health system.

"People said it will not last 12 days; now it has been going strong for close to 20 years, whereby we are servicing all the women in South Canterbury at no cost [to them]."

He said he owes it to his colleagues in all sectors of the hospital for helping make the free service one that has lasted.

Hospital imaging equipment has been a top priority for the SCDHB this year.

A new CT scanner has been operational since June and the community funded MRI will be ready by January. The SCDHB also plans to purchase a bone density scanner soon.

The Timaru Herald