… national referral hospital completes 16 operations in 5 days

YK Poudel 

Bhutanese with kidney stones could now get timely treatment after the inauguration of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu last week.

The national referral hospital conducted 16 operations in five days since its inauguration on July 12. 

Head of Department of Surgery, Dr Sonam Dargay said that without requiring any invasive surgery, the system uses high-intensity waves to reduce kidney stones as large as two centimeters to three to dust. “Bhutanese technicians and neurologists are trained on the use of the machine.”

“The ESWL procedure takes about an hour or more depending on the size and number of the stones,” he said.

The patient, he said, gets some anesthesia during the non-invasive medical operation. Once the stone is reduced to dust the patient is advised to drink water to pass it out.

According to the press release, the shock waves enter the body and are targeted using and X-ray or ultrasound, breaking the stones into pieces for easy extraction. 

The service is only for kidney stones and not for biliary or gallbladder and pancreatic stones, the hospital notified yesterday. 

The machine worth Nu 48.2 million, is the first of its kind in the country supplied by a German company called Dornier. 

The inauguration was done by Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering along with health officials at the national referral hospital. 

The ESWL is a non-invasive procedure to break up stones inside the urinary tract, bile ducts or pancreatic duct with a series of shock waves generated by a machine called a lithotripter developed in the 1980s.