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More research and gains in the medical care

Equipment has raised the productivity of hospitals

The clinical hospitals of the schools of Medical Science of Unicamp and of Medicine of USP, in São Paulo and Ribeirão Preto, develop research as well as medical care. The upgrading of laboratories, capped by the purchase of multi-user equipment, is spurring on both fronts. At Unicamp, the areas of nuclear medicine, oncology, neurology, nephrology, pathological anatomy and tests for women, benefited directly from the purchase of front line equipment. At USP in São Paulo, the program increased the resources of the Hypertension Unit of the hospital that cares for thousands of patients.

At USP in Ribeirão Preto, it was the areas of oncology, cardiology, gastroenterology and bone marrow transplant that got most out of the Infra program funds. In the Medical Sciences School of Unicamp other resources from the Infra, to the order of approximately R$ 5.7 million, were mainly spent on equipment, which has already brought great results to the researchers and to the population of Campinas and towns around it.

The team of professor Edwaldo Eduardo Camargo, director of the Nuclear Medical Services, was one of those who profited. Three new pieces of equipment gave a new rhythm to his work and are being used around the clock for examinations on the hospital’s patients and for the development of 13 research programs of the 23 scientists working in the areas of neurology, radiology and orthopedics. “On a lesser frequency, the equipment is also being used by another one hundred academics of the departments of pneumology, psychiatry, nephrology and medical tests on women”, explains Camargo.

Advances in research
In the hybrid scintillation chamber PET/Spect tomographies are being carried out using radioactive substances that emit positrons (Positron Emission Tomography), in order to diagnose various types of cancer and infarcts in patients who suffer from dormant myocardium. This apparatus uses a substance that is rare in the country, flurodeoxyglucose (FDG),marked with the isotope fluorine-18, and produced only at the Energy and Nuclear Research Institute (Ipen), in São Paulo. “The apparatus has helped to transform Unicamp into one of the most advanced research and radiology centers in the country” rejoices Camargo. The Nuclear Medicine Service has four scintillation chambers available to it, but only the new machine permits the use of FDG marked with fluorine-18. Annually more than 12,000 brain, heart and lung scintillation graphs are being carried out at the university.

In the Center of Integral Attention to Women’s Health (Caism) around 5,800 consultations are taking place a month, the majority of cases are pregnancy complications. With the new Bi-dimensional Ultra-Sound apparatus with colored Doppler effect, the images allow for the identification of injuries in the uterus and to the condition of the fetus. According to professor Ricardo Barini, of Obstetrics, the Caism already had three ultra-sound machines but they were technologically outdated and in poor conditions for use. Before the arrival of this new equipment, the Caism carried out between 800 and 1,000 ultra-sounds tests per month. Now, as well as the advance in quality, it has overtaken the mark of 2,000 monthly examinations.

An electron microscope and a photon-microscope have changed the routine of the Pathological Anatomy Department, which now offers 400 examinations per year. The photon-microscope is linked up to a system of morphometry, – resources which didn’t exist in the past – and hooked up to a computer. The optical set of the equipment carries out the exact measuring of the cells contained within the focused area. “With this new resource, it has been possible to expand the supply of examinations and to open up new research fields”, guarantees Athanase Billis, a professor in the Department. “The only electronic microscope of the HC, used in research and for routine examinations of patients with cancer and renal illnesses, was broken and stayed for almost three years without being fixed” says Billis.

Bone marrow transplant
To the laboratories of the Medical Faculty of USP in Ribeirão Preto the Infra allocated the amount of R$ 4.6 million, partly invested in equipment that has brought improvements to the sector that takes care of patients with leukemia and in the research into bone marrow transplants in the Hospital das Clínicas. The researcher Júlio César Voltarelli, of the area of Clinical Medicine and the coordinator of the Bone Marrow Transplant group, has, since 1995, been able to count upon a FACS Vantage Flow Cytometer, which is being used by five research teams. This apparatus is the most advanced for carrying out the technique of sorting (separation of the cells for analysis) of the bone marrow on patients.

In the Clinical Medicine Department, a piece of equipment produces nuclear images of the heart and the organs of the digestive tube. In the view of José Antonio Marin Neto, a cardiology professor, the apparatus is responsible for a leap in the quality of the treatment in cardiology and gastroenterology. “Marking is done on the organs or the blood with radioactive elements, and thereafter the patient is examined using the apparatus, which allows us to visualize the distribution of blood in the interior of the heart, to check its functioning and obtain a diagnosis of coronary obstructions, and at the same time doubles the capacity of the service.”

Research at Incor
Of the R$ 720,000 allocated to the laboratories of the Heart Institute of the Hospital das Clínicas of the Medical Faculty of USP, one part was invested in the Hypertension Unit of the Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery Division, directed by the researcher Eduardo Moacyr Krieger. He worked hard for the renovation of the physical area of the human physiology and experimental physiology laboratories and to the establishment of a molecular biology laboratory.” All of them are used in the research of hypertension and also serve for the treatment of more than 3,000 regular patients registered at the unit.” he said.

In Dr. Krieger’s view, the number of patients who are benefited, either directly or indirectly, is even greater. “The research carried out here is quickly applied to treatment and it is also good for the doctors of other hospitals in the health service network who look after hypertension cases.”

In the laboratories of the Hypertension Unit studies into epidemiology are being developed and research aiming the treatment and control of the illness, as well as the application of surgical methods. “The research is integrated and covers studies in molecular biology, animal experimentation and clinical studies on patients,” explains Dr. Krieger.