Barts Health has become one of only a handful of Trusts across the United Kingdom to offer Rubidium PET scanning to cardiac patients.
The scanner uses both Position Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) to look for blocked or narrowed coronary arteries.
It differs from other scanning techniques already in use at the Trust because of the small amount of radioactive material – Rubidium – that is inserted into the patient’s vein via the arm.
This acts as a tracer, giving clinicians a quicker and more accurate indication of blood supply to the heart, when the patient is both under stress and at rest.
Dr Leon Menezes, consultant in radiology and nuclear medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, said:
“Coronary artery disease remains the UK’s biggest killer.
“Rubidium PET scanning promises to transform how this disease is diagnosed by speeding up scanning times to around 30 minutes, meaning we can see more patients and those who visit us have a much better experience in our care.
“The quality of the images produced by Rubidium PET scanning is superior to traditional techniques, meaning we can diagnose people more accurately – getting them the help they need sooner.
“Patients also receive approximately one fifth of the radiation dosage found in current, widely-used techniques.”
Barts Health has been commissioned to provide Rubidium PET scanning to patients in London and the south east of England.
It was made possible thanks to a grant from Barts Charity.