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Scanning on top of the world

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Radiographic imaging equipment has been delivered to the top of the world – almost.

Kunde hospital is located 24.6 kilometres from Mount Everest Base Camp and a Carestream Vita Flex CR System was recently delivered and installed there by Capital Enterprises.

The equipment provides imaging services to 8,000 local residents as well as mountaineers, sherpas and others who support those who attempt to climb Mount Everest.

The imaging system was transported by plane to Lukla, Nepal. The Lukla airport (officially called the Tenzing-Hillary Airport) is regarded by many as the world’s deadliest airport due to its high elevation and unforgiving terrain.

From there, porters carried the x-ray equipment on their backs for 30 kilometres to the hospital, which is staffed and operated by local physicians and nurses.

The system is used by medical staff to capture digital x-ray images of shoulders and extremities that have been broken or sprained.

It is also for the head and neck area to diagnose sprains or concussions; as well as chest exams that may indicate a patient has pneumonia, altitude sickness, or evidence of a heart attack or other serious medical conditions.

These imaging studies are essential to diagnosing diseases and injuries to climbers, sherpas and other workers at base camp.

“The images are available in minutes and physicians decide if a patient can be treated at the hospital or must be transported to Kathmandu… by helicopter or airplane,” said Carestream’s Charlie Hicks.

Kathmandu is 136 kilometres from Kunde Hospital. The Kunde hospital, which was founded by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1966, is 3,840 metres above sea level.