Osakidetza unveils the Basque Country’s first 3.0 tesla magnetic resonance machine for diagnostic purposes
The new machine will provide more accurate diagnoses for neurology (Alzheimer's, dementia, multiple sclerosis), cancer (tumours of the liver, gall bladder, pancreas, renal, uterus, ovary, cervix, rectum and prostate) and vascular system diseases.
This equipment will benefit all the hospitals in the Osakidetza [Basque Health System] network, and it is the most advanced and powerful magnetic resonance machine in the entire Basque country. With the implementation of this equipment, Osakidetza, through Osatek Galdakao, has three state-of-the art magnetic resonance machines (MR), which will be used for 21,500 patients in 2011. Osatek has invested 1.7 million euros in this infrastructure and has thus consolidated its position as the leading Osakidetza supplier for MR studies, both in terms of technology and market share. The Osatek goals for the Basque public health in 2011 were also revealed.
This morning, the Basque Government's Minister for Health and Consumers, Jesús María Fernández, unveiled the 3.0 tesla magnetic resonance machine at the Galdakao-Usansolo Hospital in Bizkaia. This is the first of its kind in the Basque Country, which makes it the most advanced and powerful machine of this type in the Basque Country.
The new infrastructure, in which Osatek, the public company, invested 1.7 millions euros, "will enable important advances in the diagnosis, prognosis and effective treatment of different pathologies": Thus, the clinical applications indicated by the Basque Minister refer to "advanced neurology studies, both in patients with degenerative pathology (Alzheimer's, dementias) and inflammatory pathology (multiple sclerosis). It will also be particularly useful in body and pelvis cancer studies due to its excellent tissue and anatomic resolution, helping to ensure a more accurate and early diagnosis of different types of tumours," which include those of the "liver, gall bladder, pancreas, renal, uterus, ovary and cervix, rectum and prostate."
He likewise stressed the applications of the new 3.0 tesla magnetic resonance (MR) in the studies of the vascular system "with cutting-edge software that enables angiographic studies to be performed without contrast needing to be used, thus avoiding allergic reactions and renal problems": this equipment "has hardware and software to perform breast interventionist and diagnostic procedures and will therefore improve the management of breast cancer," he added.
The Minister stressed that "this equipment has to benefit all the hospitals in the Osakidetza network and this 3.0 tesla technology will have to be gradually implemented in all of them, where financially feasible".
21,500 patients in the Galdakao-Osatek MR in 2011
Jesús María Fernández was accompanied by Pablo Arbeloa, Osatek Managing Director, at the opening of the new 3.0 tesla MR. In particular, Arbeloa stressed that "with the coming into service of this equipment, Osatek Galdakao has three high performance MR's (3.0 T MR in 2010, 1.5 T MR in 2007 and 1.5 T MR in 2002)." With all this equipment, "the Galdakao-Usansolo Unit is forecast to perform magnetic resonances for 21,500 patients in 2011."
He likewise referred to the "larger magnetic field" of the new appliance (double the standard), the "revolutionary parallel transmissions system of the equipment," which reduces times by 40%, the existence of "much more sensitive antennas than before," along with the new diagnostic methods (tractography, spectroscopy, diffusion in oncology, etc.), "which makes it the best diagnostic tool of its type."
Osatek technological innovation program for the coming years
With this 1.7 million investment, Osatek "has consolidated its position as the cutting-edge Osakidetza supplier for the performance of MR studies, both in terms of technology and market share," explained the Basque Government's Minister for Health and Consumers.
He stressed that they will continue "to progress so that Osatek is a technological benchmark in the Basque Country. With the technological innovation program approved last year, we have managed in one year to make significant advances in technological innovation with the addition of this equipment and also to reduce the average age of our appliances of this type, which has fallen from 8.5 years in November in 2009 to the current 7 years".
He also referred to his intention to continue investing "to ensure that Osatek can continue to provide a better service to Osakidetza professionals and citizens as a whole."
The main challenges that the Minister listed facing Osatek in 2011 refer to three principal aspects. The first of them consists of "adjusting the investments of the Álava Unit to the requirements of the Álava University Hospital Functional Plan." The second involves "assessing the advisability of introducing specific equipment for specific needs, particularly with regard to osteoarticular pathology, which enables better quality explorations at a lower cost." The last target revealed by Fernández Díaz entails "continuing to renew equipment to ensure that the age of our MR fleet continues to fall".