For Immediate Release
October 16, 2012
Four years, two London doctors, one surgical first in Peru
LONDON, Ontario – A journey that started in 2008 has resulted in a surgical first in Peru for a procedure that is common in Canada. Dr. Jorge Burneo, neurologist, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), and Dr. David Steven, neurosurgeon, LHSC, have recently returned from a trip to Lima, Peru where they acted as advisors during the country’s first epilepsy surgery – a left temporal lobectomy.
“In 2008, our goal was to establish an epilepsy program in Peru modeled on the world-renowned epilepsy program at LHSC by sharing our expertise,” says Burneo. “In four years, our progress has led to a surgical first for Peru.”
Since 2011, Burneo and Steven have been communicating with a Peruvian team of neurologists and neurosurgeons online and on the telephone to discuss potential surgical cases.
“We acted as advisors to help build surgical expertise,” says Steven. “The surgery was not without its challenges, taking nearly twice as long as a similar surgery in Canada; however, the patient’s daily seizures have not returned since.” Typically a patient must be free from seizures for over a year for a surgery to be considered successful.
With close to 30 million people and an incidence and prevalence of epilepsy that triples that of Canada, Peru lacks the surgical expertise to help 30 per cent of all epilepsy patients that cannot be treated by medication. “This 30 per cent of patients have a poor quality of life,” said Burneo.
Burneo has been travelling to Peru since 2008. He first gave workshops to neurologists on video-EEG (electroencephalogram), which measures electrical activity along the scalp to help diagnose seizures. By the end of the following year, they were running their own video-EEG unit and identifying surgical cases. In 2011, Steven joined Burneo on a trip to Peru to lecture about epilepsy surgery and the multidisciplinary aspect of the epilepsy team.
Since 2008, four physicians have also travelled to LHSC for observerships, lasting as long as three months.
Dr. David Steven and Dr. Jorge Burneo are available for interviews on Tuesday, October 16 after 1 pm and Wednesday, October 17 after 3 pm.
About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 137 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca
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