Get diagnosed closer to home

Posted on: 15th January, 2018

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

Clonakilty Diagnostic Clinic moved to its new premises at Faxbridge in Clonakilty in June 2017. The clinic allows people in West Cork to be able to access tests for common problems close to home and faster than in Cork. Dr Matt Dahm gives us an overview of the service provided at the clinic.

What kind of a service does Clonakilty Diagnostic Clinic provide?

We chose only tests that can be safely done outside of hospital.

Ultrasound Scans: We can look at most parts of the body with an ultrasound scan. Live, without radiation and painless. The images are given to the patient on a CD-ROM so that they are available, if they are required to assist a consultant to make further decisions based on the scan. The report is available immediately.

Sleep Apnoea Monitor: Sleep Apnoea is much more common than we think. It can be a cause for exhaustion on waking despite sleeping long hours and then falling asleep without intent during the day. The monitor is worn overnight and is the same equipment that is used in the HSE sleep clinic in Mallow General Hospital.

Asthma Testing: Again, asthma is very common and symptoms can be vague. The latest guidelines from the UK recommend this easy-to-do one-minute breathing test as first step to test for asthma in adults. It is the same test that is used in the Respiratory Department in the Mercy Hospital in Cork.

Palpitation Detector: To feel our heart beating differently can be a frightening experience. Most palpitations are not dangerous. Some are. To distinguish the two, it is important to capture a heart tracing during the episode. That is difficult as most spells are very short. We have a portable heart tracing monitor. You can get it fitted here and wear it until you have captured a few episodes. That might be a day or a week or two.

Vascular Age: The pulse wave analysis allows us to measure how stiff your main artery is and translate that into a ‘vascular age’. This can give us additional valuable information about the state of your blood vessels rather than cholesterol or blood pressure alone.

Mole Check: Melanoma is on the rise worldwide. Dermatoscopy is a tool very widely used in Australia. It allows a much better assessment of moles. We check all your moles for any suspicious features here.

Can anyone make an appointment or do you need a referral from your regular GP?

You need a referral from your own GP to get an ultrasound scan, just like when you go to Cork for a scan.

How long do you wait for an appointment?

We usually offer same day appointments.

When do you get the result of the scan?

You have the result and an exhaustive report to take back to your own GP before you leave the Clonakilty Diagnostic Clinic after your appointment.

Aside from not having to travel to the city, are there other advantages to attending the Clonakilty Diagnostic Clinic?

It is cheaper, closer and the results are available immediately.

What is an ultrasound?

Very high-pitched sound waves that get reflected differently depending on how dense tissue is. Very similar to what bats use for orientation.

What areas of the body can be imaged by ultrasound?

Neck, muscles, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, aorta, ovaries, womb, basically any solid organ and to some degree even air-filled organs like the lungs.

What kinds of conditions can an ultrasound diagnose?

Gallstones, cancer of the liver, pancreas, kidney, testicular, ovaries and many other organs. We can see whether there is a clot in the veins in your legs (deep vein thrombosis) or whether there is fluid in the lungs (pulmonary oedema). Also, whether a tendon is inflamed or ruptured.

Does it have limitations?

Ultrasound waves cannot go through bone. So, we cannot scan into the skull. Also, we cannot look into the joints. We can see all structures around a joint like the tendons, ligaments and muscles. However, to assess the meniscus, which is inside the knee joint, an MRI is much better.

Also, ultrasound is very good at checking for any abnormality. The vast majority of scans show no abnormality. But, MRI or CT are better to determine if an abnormality is bad or just different to normal. So, if an abnormality is detected on ultrasound, often further scans like an MRI or CT are required.

Why is ultrasound used in pregnancy?

Because it is so safe, accessible and gives you immediate answers. Please note, here at the Clonakilty Diagnostic Clinic, we don’t do antenatal ultrasound scans. The expertise required to interpret whether a baby has any abnormality is beyond our scope here.

Phone: 023 88 58 774 • •

Faxbridge Shopping Complex, Clonakilty (next to Scally’s Supervalu)


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