13th June, 2016

ONE of the Sunshine Coast’s top neurologists is rallying for help to fund a highly-specialised piece of equipment used to diagnose several debilitating diseases and rare conditions.

IMG_3708Nambour General Hospital’s neurologist Dr Tomin Mooney said a second Nerve Conduction EMG Monitor in the health region – worth $52,000 – would assist in speeding up the diagnosis and treatment of patients, while reducing lengthy waiting lists.

“This could potentially help hundreds of patients,” Dr Mooney said.

“A second machine will help improve access for patients even further.

“If we had two machines, we could do more tests as we have an expanding need for neurological testing and treatment services now, and with the opening of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.”

Wishlist is currently raising funds to purchase the diagnostic machine.

“The EMG stimulates nerves electrically with small electrical pulses and records muscle electrical activity directly with a recording needle,” Dr Mooney explained.

“This allows doctors to evaluate the health of a particular nerve or muscle.

“It can also help to diagnose common conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, which can then be referred on to the orthopaedic surgeons to operate on.

“However, they will not operate without the condition being confirmed with the aid of this machine.”

The monitor assists the diagnosis of conditions including multiple sclerosis which can disrupt the ability of the nervous system, Guillain-Barre Syndrome which causes rapid-onset of muscle weakness, and certain rare forms of epilepsy.

“This is something we will put to good use in our expanding service,” Dr Mooney said.

“The Nerve Conduction EMG Monitor can determine whether the concern is from a peripheral nerve or muscle disorder, and can identify if a problem lies within the brain or the spine.

“The Health Service is purchasing another machine for the new hospital, so we are aiming to have three to ensure we have the capacity to treat as many patients as possible in a timely way.”

“We plan to have one monitor at Nambour General Hospital and two at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.”

The test can take up to 45 minutes to complete and is currently used for more than 500 tests a year, with a capability to be increased.

Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said the second EMG monitor was now top of the priority ‘wish list’ for the Coast’s hospital foundation.

“We would love for all Sunshine Coast residents to consider making a donation to this incredibly worthy cause in an effort to improve lives and save precious time,” Ms Rowe said.

Dr Mooney said a 65-year-old woman had recently been referred to him after months of severe right hand and forearm pain, as well as a pinched nerve in her neck.

“After a full evaluation we deemed it necessary for her to have an EMG Nerve Conduction test, however on that day the monitor was being used on another patient so an immediate appointment was not available,” Dr Mooney said.

“Reducing delay can enable vital treatment to start as early as possible and can significantly improve a person’s health and quality of life.

“The community, through Wishlist, can help us grow the service and add to the funds the Hospital and Health Service has to purchase important medical equipment.”

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