Cardiologists at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) are now able to carry out additional specialist tests to help diagnose heart problems following the introduction of new charity-funded equipment.
The Expression MR200 monitor allows clinicians to assess a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels whilst they are undergoing an MRI scan. This means doctors can check the blood supply to the heart and potentially identify blocked arteries, in turn reducing the need for some patients to undergo an angiogram, which sees special dye injected into the patients’ arteries so that they show up on an x-ray.
As the monitor has been specially designed for use alongside the MRI scanner, it can also be used to carry out ‘stress’ cardiac MRIs, where drugs which mimic the effect of exercise on the heart are given to the patient and the impact measured during the scan.
The £28,000 kit has been funded by Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity. It is based at Ipswich Hospital, but is also used for Colchester patients.
Dr. Neil Mangrolia, consultant cardiologist and lead of ESNEFT’s cardiac MRI service, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity for funding this monitor. It will allow us to offer even more specialist tests to our patients closer to home, without the need to travel to specialist centres in Cambridge or Basildon. The specialist drugs we use during the scans alter the patient’s blood pressure and heart rate, so it is vital that we are able to monitor those changes safely. This piece of kit allows us to do just that.
“This will reduce the need for some patients to undergo an angiogram to identify blocked arteries, which is a very safe procedure but still carries some risk as it is invasive. This monitor will allow us to check the blood vessels non-invasively, which is great news for our patients as it reduces any risk.”
Mandy Jordan, associate director of charities and voluntary services with ESNEFT, said: “This monitor is a brilliant example of the difference which our charity is able to make to patients thanks to the generosity of our local community. We are incredibly grateful to all of our fantastic fundraisers, whose ongoing support makes purchases like this possible.”