The handover of a portable echocardiogram machine to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) yesterday is expected to significantly reduce waiting time for echocardio services in addition to providing improved heart images.

That was Dr Marilyn Lawrence Wright's assessment of the donation from Supreme Ventures Limited in honour of the late chief executive officer Brian George.

Wright, who is the head of the Cardiology Unit at the UHWI, told The Gleaner that the machine's portability is another benefit that will go a far way in assisting patients, especially those who are critically ill.



"It (machine) fills a big gap. Echocardio services are limited in the public sector. The waiting time for an echocardio appointment is extremely long, sometimes three to four months, and what this does is increase our capacity at the University Hospital to provide this important diagnostic tool," she said.

"It's an ultrasound machine, which images the heart. The good thing about it is that it is portable. So you can take it to the bedside, it can go to the Intensive Care Unit, it can go to a health fair. It's an easy way to look at the heart, its muscles and valves. It's a quick and non-invasive way to see what is happening with someone's heart."

Wright also noted that it is important that those who use it are trained.

"At this hospital, we could do with at least three additional ones, maybe more. As it is now, we only have one regular echocardiogram machine for routine testing. Other private facilities have two to three for routine testing. Every hospital requires one. The question then becomes, who is going to use it because it does require special training," Wright declared.