During a recent trip to Multan, Pakistan (December 2016) Mr Riaz, on behalf of OPSA of which he is a trustee, was delighted to be able to hand over a Doppler Machine to the Burns Unit in Multan, Pakistan.  Mr Riaz set up and established the unit back in 1999 before he came back to the UK to work as a Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon. It is because of this that the unit has grown exponentially, and operates as it does today, one of a few hospitals better equipped to deal with and manage patients with severe burns.

What the Doppler is and how it works in the treatment of burns

A Doppler ultrasound is a non-invasive test that can be used to estimate the blood flow through blood vessels by bouncing high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) off circulating red blood cells. During Doppler ultrasound, a handheld device is passed lightly over the skin above a blood vessel. The device is called a transducer. It sends and receives sound waves that are amplified through a microphone. The sound waves bounce off solid objects, including blood cells. The movement of blood cells causes a change in the pitch of the reflected sound waves. This is called the Doppler effect. If there is no blood flow, the pitch does not change.

This test is critical when managing and treating serious burns, and is of enormous value when planning surgical treatment in reconstruction.  Doppler is used in assessing blood flow which helps when planning the different types of ‘flaps’ (tissue and skin used to cover the defect left by burns injuries) that may be used for reconstruction. Its value lies in its ability to identify the position of the vessels in the ‘pedicle’ or ‘flap’. It is also useful to monitor the blood flow in the flaps after reconstruction, and therefore their longer-term viability

Over the years that OPSA has been operational it has received many donations of equipment, (largely second-hand) from various hospitals and organisations, local and regional, which have been transported to the Cleft Centre in Gujrat, and other medical centres in Pakistan, and where it is still used today. Portable Doppler machines can be found in every burns unit in the UK and Western Europe.  This is not the case in Pakistan.  Such equipment is scarce in most units. 

A request came through late 2016 from Assistant Professor Naheed Choudhary, head of the Nishtar Hospital Burns Unit asking if OPSA might be able to procure this equipment for them; they desperately needed it, in the best interests of their patients.  It was supplied by Medisave UK, who offered a modest discount to OPSA because of the circumstances for which we were very grateful.

It gave Mr Riaz great pleasure both professionally and personally to hand over this vital piece of equipment to the Burns Unit, where had played such an important part in its set-up.

The other OPSA trustees were delighted to help another such worthy cause.

Further information about the Nishtar Hospital & Burns Unit can be found at http://www.nmch.edu.pk/