Backgrounder: VGH Division of Otolaryngology & PREPARE Project
March 13th, 2007
VGH Division of Otolaryngology
A provincial resource
Otolaryngology Program at VGH – also known as ENT, for
Ear, Nose and Throat – is a referral centre for
patients from across B.C. and Yukon. With about 11,000 patient
visits annually, the ENT Clinic is a busy place, operating several
patient care programs, including:
A weekly dizziness and tinnitus clinic – dizziness is
the second most common reason for visits to a family practitioner,
and is one of the most challenging disorders to diagnose, as it can
be linked to neurological problems as well as ear problems.
The Pacific Voice Clinic and the Provincial Voice Care Resource
Program – providing diagnosis and therapy for people
with voice disorders, as well as ongoing support for patients with
neuromuscular diseases such as multiple sclerosis or ALS that
Surgical procedures including simple cancer surgery are done as
day cases at the clinic – more complex cases are
handled in the Jim Pattison Pavilion operating rooms.
Specialized surgery and patient care
Many of the surgeons at the ENT Clinic perform
operations that cannot be done anywhere else in the province. For
example, program head Dr. Neil Longridge is known for a laser
surgery procedure called stapedectomy, in which a tiny prosthesis
is inserted to replace a damaged bone in the inner ear.
Stapedectomies are performed quite rarely – mostly
because the hearing loss caused by the damaged bone progresses so
slowly that people do not notice it until others make note of it.
Many people compensate by unconsciously learning to read lips.
Tzu Chi Canada Foundation’s March 2007
Tzu Chi Canada Foundation is funding
equipment for VGH’s Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Clinic.
The equipment includes an ENT endoscopy system, cautery unit,
ultrasonic cleaner, SMR units and stretchers.
Endoscopy System An endoscope is an instrument used for
visually examining the interior of the body. It provides doctors
with a clear view of the nasal cavity and sinuses, down the back of
the throat and to the vocal cords; an important ability in their
area of medical specialty. The system’s small
instruments are generally well tolerated by patients
with little or no medication
The system creates an image of what is being
“scoped” and displays that image on a large
screen. These images can be stored for follow-up. Doctors can do
biopsies and treat many conditions right on
the spot with this equipment. The system is well suited to help
detect and treat nasopharyngeal tumours, which can be cancerous.
Cancerous nasopharyngeal tumours have an 80 per cent cure rate if
caught early; but an 80 per cent mortality rate if detected
“cautery unit” (also called an
electrosurgical unit), uses high frequency
electrical current for coagulating and cutting. The cautery unit
purchased for the ENT Clinic is identical to the units in
VGH’s main inpatient Operating Rooms.
SMR carts are like a little ENT support system. They
are cabinets that house and power many of the essentials
the ENT surgeon needs.
4) The Transcend Surgical Chair offers
safe, controlled and comfortable patient positioning during
PREPARE – a new technology to speed
up drug and vaccine
Emerging PAthogen REsponse or PREPARE uses a new type of
science called proteomics, in combination with high-speed
computing called bioinformatics, to identify drug targets
Target identification is one of the most time-consuming
aspects of new drug and vaccine development.
Once these targets are found, PREPARE will work with
biotechnology companies to find drugs that attack the targets
and to do preliminary testing of these drugs. Later,
pharmaceutical firms will become involved in the process of
testing drugs on human populations.
To prove that the PREPARE technology works, the research
team will begin by finding new drug and vaccine targets for
four diseases that affect millions of people worldwide:
E. coli is the cause of dramatic outbreaks of infection
– often carried by food or water – that
lead to kidney failure, especially in children and the elderly. One
of the largest Canadian outbreaks of E. coli recently occurred in
Walkerton, Ontario with seven deaths and 2,300 cases of
Drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is the most common form of
hospital-acquired infection and has a high fatality rate. Thousands
of Canadians have been affected by skin, bone and blood infections
Salmonella is the third most common cause of gastro-intestinal
disease in Canada. Often carried by food, symptoms of a salmonella
infection include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and
Chlamydia affects 90 million people worldwide and is the most
common sexually transmitted disease in Canada. It is the most
important preventable cause of infertility. Since current treatment
programs are expensive, they are generally unavailable to people in