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Hospitals, Melbourne, Surgery

Northern Health surgeons on the rise

13 November 2017

Northern Health surgeons are leading the state in the field of complex venous disorders.

The health service recently became the first in Victoria to utilise intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) to aid diagnosis and treatment of damaged veins. Arteries take blood pumped by the heart to all the limbs and organs of the body and veins are there to bring blood back to the heart.

Large blood clots formed in the deep veins are known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Sixty per cent of patients who develop DVT in the iliac vein also develop post thrombotic syndrome. This leads to leg swelling, pain, varicose veins, pigmentation and venous ulceration. These symptoms can cause serious limitations to the lives of patients suffering from post thrombotic syndrome.

In 2011, the cost to Australian healthcare contributed by venous ulcers was upwards of $500m. "IVUS allows vascular surgeons to look inside the veins for accurate information regarding the diseases present, as well as the narrowness of veins and assessment of treatment," said Northern Health vascular and endovascular surgeon Iman Bayat. "Previously, the technology was restricted to arteries within the heart.

"Now we are able to assess veins that are 10 times the size of the heart vessels," Mr Bayat said. The vascular surgery department at Northern Health launched its first complex venous program in April with special guest and complex venous expert from the Netherlands, Dr Rick de Graaf. His visit provided Northern Health staff with an opportunity to learn from one of the world’s leaders.

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