10/03/2021 | Press releases

New advanced cardiology service brings care closer to home

Cardiac patients in the Ipswich and Colchester areas will now be able to have a specialist diagnostic test closer to home following the launch of a new cardiac MRI service at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT).

A new scanner has been installed at Ipswich Hospital which will allow specialists to look at detailed moving pictures of the heart, as well as its vessels and valves. Unlike the majority of scanners which produce stills, this machine is able to produce moving images of the heart timed with the heartbeat.

The technology will allow cardiologists to diagnose numerous heart conditions, find the causes of heart failure, look at how blood travels through the aorta and identify valve disease or scars in the heart muscle. Unlike many other diagnostic tests for cardiac issues, it does not use any radiation.

Its introduction also means that many heart patients will no longer need to make a 120-mile round trip to Cambridge or Basildon for advanced cardiac imaging. In addition, as the scanner can carry out a variety of functions at once, it reduces the need for patients to have more than one diagnostic test before they can begin treatment.

Dr Neil Mangrolia, consultant cardiologist at ESNEFT and service lead, said: “The introduction of this new service is fantastic news for our patients, as it gives them access to a really comprehensive test without the need to travel. This will have a particular impact on inpatients, who in the past would either need to take a 120-mile round trip in an ambulance for cardiac MRI or, if that was not possible, would have to have a less suitable test.

“The machine uses an ECG to time the pictures it takes according to the heart trace, which enables you to look at the moving heart in great detail. It has an extremely broad range of applications and can be used to diagnose numerous heart conditions. Initially, the service will cater for around 400 patients a year, although that number will increase as the service develops.

“I am very grateful for the hard work undertaken by my colleagues including Clare Bailie, Belinda Ling, Liz Brill, Richard Jones and John Hartley, who have been instrumental in the development of this service despite the difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In addition to the benefits it will bring to patients, the introduction of this advanced imaging service is also great news for our radiography staff as it gives them an opportunity to use their skills for the diagnosis of heart conditions.”

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