St Bartholomew’s Hospital – Department of Cardiac Imaging: Making MRI available for cardiac pacemaker patients

Nearly half a million people in England have a cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator. Each of these patients has a 75 per cent lifetime chance of needing an MRI scan but often have difficulty accessing MRI due to safety concerns and lack of provision, which leads to subsequent delays in diagnosis and treatment.

St Bartholomew’s Hospital has responded to requests by patients for a one-stop service, where devices could be re-programmed and scans performed at a single visit. Training has resulted in radiographers scanning patients without direct consultant supervision. The cardiac imaging team also worked with physicists from the US to design optimised MRI scans that are suitable for device patients.

The cost of this was minimal – changes were mainly organisational and logistical – but the team developed a business care for a specialist “device-MRI” practitioner. The changes have also meant it is now delivering MRI scans to six times the previous number of patients with devices.

Benefits to patients include waiting time reduced from 60 to 15 days, as well as early diagnosis for serious conditions such as stroke and cancer. Providing scans early also makes financial sense, reducing extra bed days.

Read a detailed case study about this project at HSJ Solutions 


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