ASE leverages Mindray ultrasound to expand echocardiography in Vietnam

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | August 25, 2015
Medical Devices Population Health Primary Care Ultrasound X-Ray
Rheumatic heart disease is widespread in Vietnam, but echocardiography is only available at centers in major cities because of the cost and size of the equipment. But even in the major cities, physicians have a heavy workload since they perform their own scans as well as interpret them, unlike the system in the U.S., where sonographers perform scans for interpretation by physicians.

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) Foundation is in Hanoi, Vietnam along with Mindray’s ultrasound systems to try to curb this issue. The foundation is currently running a program from August 17 to 22 that will teach local clinicians how to properly acquire cardiovascular images and use compact echo systems in areas with scarce resources.

“The hope is that the practice of echocardiography will be enhanced through the physician education efforts,” Robin Wiegerink, CEO of the ASE Foundation, told HCB News. “We also aim to directly serve patients in these rural settings by taking the equipment and the providers directly to the sites where it is needed.”
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It’s important that patients are able to be seen in rural settings because the fragile and younger patients may not be able to handle the long journey to the hospital, adds Wiegerink. The patients who have more serious symptoms will receive follow-up care at the National Heart Institute/Bach Mai Hospital.

One of the program’s core components will be to teach local clinicians how to use laptop size echo platforms for focused cardiac ultrasound testing. The program will also involve hands-on training at the Vietnam National Heart Institute at the Bach Mai Hospital, an educational symposium for clinicians located in local provinces, training for local health care workers and a village screening program with over 200 patients.

Mindray will supply six M7 portable cardiac ultrasound systems to the Vietnam Heart Institute to support the training. The ASE Foundation received multiple proposals of interest for this program, but they decided that Mindray was the best fit.

The Mindray systems are “rugged and compact” and can be carried by hand, which makes them more accessible to less developed areas. Mindray also has an in-country representative that can assist with the technical aspects of the equipment onsite and handle the transportation and onsite delivery to and from Hanoi.

Mindray also agreed to have one system remain in Vietnam as a gift to the Bach Mai Hospital at the end of the mission so that the training and work can continue after the program.

The ASE was founded in 1975 and is the largest international organization for cardiac imaging. It comprises over 16,000 physicians, sonographers, nurses and scientists that provide guidance, expertise and education to its members.

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