Nepal earthquake victims benefit from ultrasound-guided regional anaesthesia
Point-of-care ultrasound technology proved vital to the Nepal disaster relief effort according to a consultant anaesthetist who travelled to the country to help victims of the earthquake that struck in April this year.
Andreas Brodbeck from the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) in East Anglia was part of a team of consultants from JPUH who offered services to Kirtipur Hospital in Kathmandu in the wake of the disaster.
“The Nepalese doctors faced an overwhelming workload,” explained Brodbeck. “Knowing that regional anaesthesia would be beneficial to the hospital and its patients, I took a SonoSite point-of-care ultrasound system with me, along with some local anaesthetics and needles.
“Point-of-care ultrasound proved invaluable. The instrument’s robustness, small size and light weight made it easy to transport, and I used it from the first day to the last, administering regional anaesthesia to a patient in the recovery room while another was undergoing surgery. The Nepalese anaesthetists were fascinated and quickly learnt the technique. It’s a wonderful way to give an anaesthetic; patients are pain free, experience fewer side-effects and recover faster. You can perform reliable blocks one after the other, eliminating the need for a general anaesthetic. The onset of anaesthesia is also much faster, you quickly find out whether or not it has worked. This quality is something that you can only get using ultrasound guidance.”