In a dedicated space on Kidd7 at the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site of the Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) is a brand-new vascular ultrasound lab. The space has been repurposed from a previous vascular assessment centre into a comprehensive ultrasound lab suitable for all extracranial vascular conditions (excluding cardiac echocardiography). Dr. Omar Islam, Department Head of Diagnostic Radiology at Queen’s University, says the lab houses “two spacious ultrasound rooms, a technologist room, a waiting room for patients and a physician office. Unique to the lab is a consultation room for our physicians to discuss results with patients.”
The lab houses two state-of-the-art Philips Ultrasound machines with 3D probes, specifically chosen for precision vascular imaging. Dr. Islam says, “Computer generated measurements are displayed as integrated reports within the ultrasound units that are automatically sent to PACS for viewing results such as flow velocities, plaque size, vessel diameters, etc.” He also says there is “excellent utility for diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease, carotid artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, deep venous thrombosis and venous insufficiency assessments, without need for renal function, contrast injection, or radiation exposure.” The lab is run collaboratively by physicians from Interventional Radiology and Vascular Surgery who will be responsible for providing immediate diagnosis and treatment planning. They can offer expert advice regarding further investigation and treatment, i.e. CTA/MRA, invasive angiography, angioplasty, stenting and/or vascular surgery. Dr. Islam says that quality is a focus of the lab, and the Medical Director position requires a Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) Certificate, based on the requisite of stringent vascular ultrasound experience.
Requisitions can be faxed to the new lab or sent digitally via the OCEAN eReferral platform. Referred patients and their physicians will be able to keep track in real-time of their appointment dates and availability of test results, Dr. Islam says. “Immediate access to images and reports will be available across local and provincial digital platforms, and electronic physician-to-physician communication via these platforms will be seamless.”
In the future, Dr. Islam says he hopes the lab serves as a model of collaborative care for patients in SEO. “Currently, there is limited availability to state-of-the-art vascular imaging in our region, and many patients go undiagnosed or undertreated. The lab offers an opportunity for appropriate diagnosis and management of patients with vascular conditions,” he says. “The vascular lab will serve as the gateway for all patients in our region to access vascular diagnosis and treatment planning from our physician team in a timely fashion.”