Although cardiovascular disease mortality rates have almost halved over recent decades, it remains Britain’s biggest killer. Too many people are still living with undetected and poorly managed atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol.
I was delighted to visit VCL at Surrey Research Park yesterday as they launched their new MRI service in the hope that through it, silent cases of cardiovascular disease will be caught and – hopefully – treated.
This service is open to private patients but also has the potential to treat NHS patients and increase capacity in NHS heart units for other elective surgeries and reduce waits for scans. The unit allows many people with pacemakers, who in the past have not been able to have MRI scans, to have these temporarily reprogrammed so that they can have this optimal treatment for other conditions.
As well as heart disease, the powerful MRI unit can scan for other medical cases such cancers and brain conditions. It is a less invasive mean of diagnosing cancers where a biopsy would risk encouraging the spread of the disease from a primary site.
It was extremely interesting to hear more feedback on the NHS from the heart consultants and nurses at VCL and there were a number of good points for further actions that I will take back to the department.
Thank you to Drs Leatham and Hickman for taking the time to explain the technology and applications of the technology - and let us hope that the new MRI scanner saves many lives through the skills of everyone in your team.