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Ten-grand donation funds sophisticated diagnostic equipment

19 July 2013

Fundraising

A hefty £10,000 donation to Southend University Hospital’s rheumatology department will make it easier for clinicians to diagnose a painful inflammatory condition.

The money from the Advanced Surgical Equipment Trust (ASET) has bought contrast enhanced ultrasound equipment which injects a dye into blood vessels to help doctors detect inflammation caused by giant cell arteritis (GCA) - which particularly affects the blood vessels in the head - and its associated condition polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR).

Prof Bhaskar Dasgupta, an internationally-renowned expert on both these debilitating diseases, said: "We have just introduced this technique at Southend and the generous donation from ASET will be a tremendous help for our patients as it will enable us to give them a firm diagnosis much more rapidly.

"It will also be a great boost for a research project we are currently working on in PMR. Consultant radiologist Dr Matthew Tam will be taking ultrasound-guided biopsies from inflamed shoulder tissue in new cases of PMR. This will give us a better insight into the cause of the condition and develop new therapies for it. At present the only available treatment is corticosteroids. However, a significant number of patients are resistant to this treatment: steroids cause numerous side effects and we need to find better and safer drug regimes." 

The cheque was presented by ASET chairman John Gibson (left) to Prof Dasgupta (right) and consultant radiologist Dr Matthew Tam.

ASET is a long-standing benefactor of the hospital, having funded equipment worth more than £1.3m over the years.