A new service in Milton Keynes Hospital is helping dozens of patients get a diagnosis and treatment more quickly and closer to home.
Previously patients who had problems with fluid around their lungs needed to travel to Harefield in West London for tests and treatment. Thanks to the service launched in August 2013, patients can now have access to medical thoracoscopy in Milton Keynes.
The service was set up by Dr Ajikumar Kavidasan, making the hospital only the second in the region to offer the procedure.
He said: “We are delighted to be able to offer medical thoracoscopy locally, and have seen around 40 patients so far.
“It means we can help patients get an early diagnosis and relief from any symptoms, all closer to home. It is a much better experience for the patient.”
Medical thoracoscopy is designed for patients who have problems with the membranes surrounding their lungs, which may have thickened or filled with fluid (pleural effusion). The procedure allows access to the pleural space in a minimally invasive way with a fibre-optic camera. This means fluids can be drained and biopsies can be taken, providing instant relief and a swift diagnosis without surgery. The patient has an ultrasound scan initially and then is sedated for the procedure with local anaesthetic.
The procedure is often needed for patients with cancer and can also be needed by patients with a variety of short and long term conditions.
Ron Underwood, 64, who had the procedure on Thursday, said: “I didn’t know what to expect from the procedure, but Dr Kavidasan explained everything and that put my mind at rest. It’s unbelievable what can be done - the procedure was painless and finished in an hour.
“All the staff who looked after me have been very efficient and on the ball.”