“Cutting edge” 3D and 4D cardiac imaging arrives in Bunbury, saving locals the trip to Perth

Shannon VerhagenSouth Western Times
St John of God Bunbury Hospital’s Dr Stefan Buchholz and chief executive Jeffrey Williams with the new machine.
Camera IconSt John of God Bunbury Hospital’s Dr Stefan Buchholz and chief executive Jeffrey Williams with the new machine.

“Cutting edge” 3D and 4D cardiac imaging technology has arrived in Bunbury, giving South West residents comprehensive heart care closer to home.

In March, St John of God Bunbury Hospital — in partnership with GenesisCare and partially funded through the St John of God Foundation — purchased a 3D/4D trans-oesophageal echocardiography probe and a 4D ultrasound machine.

It is the first time the technology has been available in the region, with patients previously having to travel to Perth for the service.

After going unused for a number of months during the coronavirus pandemic, the hospital began using the machines four weeks ago.

St John of God Bunbury Hospital's Dr Stefan Buchholz and chief executive Jeffrey Williams with the new machine.
Camera IconSt John of God Bunbury Hospital's Dr Stefan Buchholz and chief executive Jeffrey Williams with the new machine. Credit: Supplied

Cardiologist Dr Stefan Buchholz, who previously worked with the technology in Queensland, said the machines were “amazing” and gave specialists more information about a patient’s condition.

“When it comes to the heart — it is quite complex,” he said.

“The old technology was a flat image on a screen, but with the 3D image you can turn it around, slice it and see it at different angles.

“And the 4D component displays the heart working in real time.

The technology allows us to visualise the shape of heart valves before going into surgery, so that we can plan whether an affected valve can be repaired or needs to be replaced ahead of time.

Dr Stefan Buchholz

He said the detailed images often allowed doctors to see exactly why valves were leaky or faulty and could also be used to check how people were healing after surgery.

“The most important thing is that we can take out the guesswork of what we’re looking at and what’s going on,” Dr Buchholz said.

“The way it is displayed on the screen is the same way a surgeon would see it in surgery, so for pre-op planning it’s awesome.”

St John of God Bunbury Hospital’s Dr Stefan Buchholz and chief executive Jeffrey Williams with the new machine.
Camera IconSt John of God Bunbury Hospital’s Dr Stefan Buchholz and chief executive Jeffrey Williams with the new machine.

And with patients unable to drive after the imaging, Dr Buchholz said having the machine locally saved two people having to drive to all the way to Perth for it.

Chief executive Jeffrey Williams said he was “really pleased” to be able to give people living in regional communities throughout the South West the same access to the “latest diagnostic technology” as those living in metro areas.

Heart conditions can be very complex so it is important that our communities can get expert care quickly, and conveniently so that they have the best possible outcomes.

Jeffrey Williams

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