New machine helps treat cardio patients

The department of health has brought state-of-the-art new equipment into the Mthatha-based Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital’s cardiology department.

IMPACT: Nelson Mandela Central Hospital’s clinical engineer, Mzuyanda Mbangata, puts the finishing touches on the new equipment that will mean many patients will no longer have to be sent to hospitals further afield

The hospital’s CEO, Nomalanga Makwedini, said the department had spent R30-million on a catheterisation laboratory, commonly called a cathlab.

It is an examination room in a hospital or clinic with diagnostic imaging equipment used to visualise the arteries of the heart and the chambers of the heart and treat any abnormality found.

“We will no longer send all of our patients to Cape Town or KwaZulu-Natal because this new equipment will allow us to do some of the procedures,” said Makwedini.

The cathlab will be headed by Dr Khulile Moeketsi, who is a physician and cardiologist.

Speaking to the Dispatch yesterday, Dr Thozama Dubula, a physician and rheumatologist who will be working alongside Moeketsi, said they would have a trial run of the equipment at the end of June.

The new equipment will allow doctors to work on the heart without opening the chest.

Some of the procedures that will be able to be done at the hospital include inserting pacemakers and unblocking clots in the heart.

“We will also be able to do angiographies, which is a medical imaging technique used to visualise the lumen, or inside, of blood vessels and organs of the body, with particular interest in the arteries, veins and heart chambers,” Dubula said.

From June 3 to 9, South Africa observes world heart rhythm week.

According to the Heart Rhythms Society website – – abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) are caused by problems with the electrical system that regulates the heartbeat.

Some arrhythmias are dangerous and cause sudden cardiac death, while others are not life-threatening. —


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