South Cleveland Heart Fund has launched a £1million appeal to enhance heart scanning services at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Backed by The Gazette, the appeal aims to help fund the major upgrade of an MRI Scanner so it can deliver state-of-the-art scanning and a full Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CMR) service.
CMR is an advanced non-invasive imaging technique that can be used to assess why a heart is not working properly. It allows cardiac consultants to view the moving heart in high definition, from any angle, and without exposure to X-rays. It also enables them to take a look at the composition of the heart muscle and identify areas of scarring due to conditions such as heart attacks or heart muscle disorders.
“It’s rather like putting the heart under a microscope, but without the need for an invasive tissue biopsy,” said Dr Neil Maredia, consultant cardiologist.
The appeal will also contribute towards the replacement of a second MRI scanner, with a higher magnetic field strength and a wider tunnel – a particularly important benefit for patients who are obese or who suffer from claustrophobia.
Due to the high demand for MRI scans across the trust, the heart unit currently has a limited number of slots in which to scan its patients, but the upgraded machines will increase the trust’s capacity for complex cardiac and general MRI scanning and enable more patients to benefit from such scans.
South Cleveland Heart Fund Chairman Adrian Davies said: “The trust needs more CMR scans, but does not have the space or resource to build a room for a new scanner in the heart unit.
“Upgrading existing scanners offers benefits to a wider range of patients, a major saving in overall cost and provides this vital service improvement in the shortest time – a win-win situation for everyone! “
The South Cleveland Heart Fund generously supported the introduction of a CMR service to James Cook in 2011. Since that time, the heart unit has performed more than 1,000 scans on patients from Teesside, North Yorkshire, County Durham, Cumbria and Tyne and Wear.
Dr Maredia said: “Referrals for CMR studies continue to increase, reflecting the growing role of this technique in the diagnosis, management and follow up of patients with a wide spectrum of heart conditions.
“These developments are expected to lead to significant improvements in the quality and scope of images that we obtain as well as increasing the overall capacity for both CMR and general MRI scanning at James Cook.
“We are immensely grateful to the South Cleveland Heart Fund for their continued support.”
Dr Davies added: “We are urging everyone to get behind us to help us hit our £1million target and help ensure our heart unit stays at the leading edge of cardiac advances.
“The magnetic scans provided by these upgraded machines will be second to none.”
Cheques payable to South Cleveland Heart Fund and marked “scanner appeal” can be sent to treasurer Mr Keith Robson, 117 Roman Road, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, TS5 5QB. Alternatively you can donate via Just Giving on the South Cleveland Heart Fund website www.schf.org.uk