Current Affairs
Metal catheters collected from Mater Dei and sold overseas

Climate experts say that the actions of each person are affecting the rate of climate change and everyone can take small steps to curb the effects of this phenomenon.

That is what professionals and nurses at Mater Dei have been doing since last year when they started collected the precious metal from caterers which are used for heart disease. This metal, instead of being thrown away, is being sold to foundries in the UK which are passing them on to the organisation ‘Beating Hearts’.

It is estimated that the heart beats between 60 and 100 beats per minute, possibly less during rest periods and more during physical activity.

If the heart beats at a normal rhythm, the blood carries oxygen to the other organs in the body.  A number of  cells in the heart use an electric frequency to control the velocity and rhythm of the heartbeat.

If the heart beats at a rapid or irregular pace, a person who is suffering from palpitations can be helped through the use of a catheter, a long and flexible tube which is inserted into the heart. As soon as the catheter arrives to the heart, the cardiologist localises the exact position of the problem, and with the pointed end which is made of  platinum, it releases warm or cold energy in that particular zone, in order to stop the palpitations.

The Head of the Cardiology Department at Mater Dei, Dr Robert Xuereb, said that every year around 100 people undergo this procedure, and in each one between two to four catheters which cost between €200 and €2,000 each are inserted. Dr Oscar Aquilina explained that up to a year ago,  these catheters used to be thrown away, however with the help of Dr Kim Rajappan from John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, they launched an initiative for a noble cause.

“These are ‘single use’ items, in other words they have to be thrown away after the procedure and the initiative is simple because by cutting off the end, we can collect them in a simple jar,”  said Dr Aquilina.

He added that the first two jars of catheters which have been collected have now been sent to a foundry in the UK for which they received a payment of almost 1000 Euro, which they presented as a donation to ‘Beating Hearts’. With this money, this organisation financed part of a sophisticated machine, an echo cardiogram, which takes photos of the heart without having to use X-rays, and is used for children and pregnant women.

Dr Xuereb said that this was a simple example of how everyone can take small and concrete action in favour of the environment.

“As professionals we are not only taking care of people’s health in a direct manner, but we are also continuing to take care of the health of our patients by protecting the climate and our environment,” he said.

Dr Xuereb and Dr Aquilina thanked the nurses who at the end of each procedure are taking a personal initiative to hold on to the precious metal in order for it to be of benefit to future patients and the environment.

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