Sunday, May 19, 2024

New machine helping patients work up a sweat before surgery

PATIENTS are being put through their paces in a new programme to help them prepare for major surgery at local hospitals.

A specialist team of anaesthetists and nurses are testing the fitness of patients with an exercise bike at Basildon Hospital to gauge how well a person will recover ahead of their procedure and afterwards. 

The exercise gives the clinical team an idea of how physically fit each patient is using their heart rate, blood pressure, blood-oxygen levels, and lung function. The clinical team can then use this information to work out if patients need to improve their fitness before they have their surgery, such as by going on daily walks.

It also indicates if a patient is at risk of complications during the surgery, and what their recovery after an operation could involve.

The test is currently offered for patients with cardiovascular conditions, such as heart disease or an aneurysm, though there are plans to expand the service in future.

David Goldsmith, 75, a retired Sales Manager from Billericay, took part in the exercise test before his planned procedure. He has peripheral vascular disease, which means there is insufficient blood flow to his legs and so he needs to have his arteries unblocked.

David said: “The service here has been first-class. The hospital team have been highly professional and explained clearly all the preparations they are making for my treatment. It was tough on the bike, and they worked me hard, but I know that this will help them to support my recovery.” 

Dr Jonty Robinson, Consultant Anaesthetist at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The new exercise test helps us to see how fit our patient is. We do this by looking at how their heart and lungs perform when their body uses oxygen as they exercise, which gives us a better idea of how the patient will cope with and recover from the demands of major surgery. 

“We can give the patient more information and it allows us to make a plan for their post-operative recovery. Major operations can be an anxious time for patients and their families, and we hope that by having a clearer picture, it will help to alleviate some of that stress.”

The service is already in place in Broomfield and Southend hospitals, meaning patients across mid and south Essex can now benefit.

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