Asiri Central Hospital, part of healthcare giant Asiri Group of Hospitals, and a JCI accredited hospital, continues to transform the nation’s healthcare while delivering outstanding and non-compromising treatment to patients.
The hospital’s multifunctional ‘Interventional Radiology Unit’ offers significant advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of aneurysms, strokes, and other neurovascular conditions through its state-of-the-art, and Sri Lanka’s first, private sector Biplaner Catheterization Laboratory.
Taking pride as the epitome of modern day hospital crisis environments, the ‘Biplane Digital Subtraction Angiography Unit’ was commissioned in 2013 by Asiri Central Hospital with an investment of Rs 150 million.
On par with sophisticated international healthcare standards, using the biplane technology radiologists have access to large screen visualisations of the brain arterial network, with over 100% accuracy to aid quick and better understanding for safe interventions.
The unit is managed by two dedicated, trained and experienced Consultant Interventional Radiologists - Dr. Nihal Wijewardena and Dr. Lakmalie Paranahewa. “We have a very capable group of in-house specialists in our team including Dr. Thurul Attygala, Stroke Physician and Dr. Sunil Perera, Consultant Neuro Surgeon. In addition there are trained groups of radiographers and nurses working in the unit on a 24/7 basis” said Dr. Lakmalie Paranahewa.
“This is the first dedicated Biplaner Neuro Cath Lab in Sri Lanka where we have done a large number of neuro interventions with very successful results,” she added.
Today, neuro intervention is recognised as a minimally invasive approach to repair brain vascular diseases, resulting in a shorter recovery time for the patients, ensuing less side effects with patients benefitting immensely from the faster recovery period. Moreover, as it is not open surgery and only a puncture in the groin, and patients can return to their normal routine within a very short period.
Especially in the treatment of aneurysm afflicted patients, the results of the International Subarachnoid Aneurysm Trial (ISAT), after studying a large number of patients, most of them favoured the endovascular procedures of coiling over the open surgical treatment of clipping. The Coiling procedure in treating aneurysms is where platinum coils are placed in the aneurysm preventing the blood from entering it.
Elaborating further, Dr. Nihal Wijewardena said, “An aneurysm is a ballooning out of a vessel that can rupture. It is very serious and once diagnosed must be treated urgently.” Cholesterol, hypertension, heart disease and possible congenital conditions could cause this condition, Dr. Paranahewa added.
The unit also treats patients diagnosed with AVMs (arteriovenous malformation), which is group of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins which when ruptured cause bleeding in the brain. According to Dr. Paranahewa, “this difficult condition too can be treated very successfully with endovascular procedure with less complications in comparison to surgery. We have done so many cases with very good results.”
At Asiri Central’s Interventional Radiology Unit, patients with certain vascular diseases in the spine also receive treatment through endovascular procedures with great success. Dr. Wijewardena added, “We have had many patients who have been bedridden due to spinal vascular malformation who have recovered and are leading normal lives after the procedures.”
As an organization that has already taken the first step in delivering best practice interventional care, the Unit has progressed towards high-quality care for stroke patients through its Acute Stroke Management Unit, another first for the country. The Stroke Management Unit is in par with international healthcare standards.
Emphasizing the importance in quickly identifying a stroke through the FAST method (face drooping; arm weakness; speech difficulty and criticality of time) ensures getting patients immediate care enabling better stroke management.
“This kind of dedicated Stroke Unit is only available at Asiri Central. We have a dedicated stroke physician, and the ideal setup where everything is on hand at any given time for optimum treatment of a stroke patient. We are also the only hospital to perform clot retrieval where for an acute stroke it involves the mechanical removal of a blood clot from a patient's brain,” Dr. Paranahewa said.
“A stroke is no longer an old-aged disease, there has to be renewed public awareness that just administering the drug is insufficient. Treatment of clot retrieval should be carried out immediately,” Dr. Wijewardena emphasized.
The Unit also performs a variety of peripheral vascular hepatobiliary and genitourinary interventions.
Especially in treating primary liver tumours that cannot be removed surgically, through intervention the chemotherapeutic agent is injected right into the tumor. In the diagnosis and management of gastrointestinal bleeding, interventional treatments in the form of embolization is also performed by the Unit.