Leicestershire hospital gains new urgent care centre

by JoelLane 2. October 2012 17:26

acute care A new urgent care centre is due to open at the Loughborough Hospital in April 2013, saving patients the need to travel for Leicester for urgent care.

The new centre, which replaces the walk-in centre at Pinfold Gate, will provide observation beds and access to specialist clinicians.

Dr Nick Pulman, Chair of West Leicestershire CCG, said: “When work is complete we will be able to deliver improved quality care and an increased range of services in a local setting.”

The plans for the new urgent care centre were approved in February 2012 after public consultation.

Patients who need urgent care but not A&E services in Loughborough will now not have to travel to Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Compared to the existing walk-in centre, the new urgent care centre offers several advantages: better access to scans and blood tests; observation beds to allow monitoring of at-risk patients; and access to specialists in areas such as elderly care and fracture care.

West Leicestershire CCG represents 50 GP practices in Hinckley & Bosworth, North Charnwood, North West Leicestershire and South Charnwood.

First UK patients receive MRI-compatible pacemaker

by Joel 24. November 2011 10:00

Accent MRI web A cardiac pacing system designed for safe use during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans has been implanted in UK patients for the first time.

The Accent MRI pacemaker and Tendril MRI lead from St Jude Medical were implanted at London’s Heart Hospital by Dr Edward Rowland.

The new pacemaker and lead (pictured), which received CE Mark approval in April 2011, enable the patient to undergo full-body, high-resolution MRI scans.

Approximately 46,000 UK patients receive pacemakers each year, and up to 75% of those are likely to benefit from MRI scans at some time in order to check for diseases that cannot be as effectively diagnosed with other imaging modalities.

The Accent MRI pacemaker system features an MRI Activator device that allows the pacemaker to be programmed to the appropriate MRI mode for use during the scan by a single button press, using parameters pre-set by the patient’s doctor.

Dr Rowland commented: “Undertaking MRI scans in patients with pacemakers has previously been impossible or fraught with technical difficulties. I feel I can now advise patients that a magnetic scan can be performed without compromising the safety of the pacemaker.”

"The Accent MRI conditional pacemaker has many advantages over what is currently available,” said Paul Turner, St. Jude Medical’s VP for the UK, Ireland and Canada. “It is a state-of-the-art pacemaker that offers full body scanning capability without restrictions, which is especially important to patients who may need an MRI scan in the chest and abdominal area.”

Based in Minnesota, USA, St. Jude Medical develops medical devices to treat cardiac and neurological disorders and chronic pain.

MRI scans can be safe for pacemaker users

by emma 5. October 2011 17:01

Guidant Pacemaker

Wearers of implanted cardiac devices such as pacemakers (pictured) and defibrillators can safely undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, according to a report by cardiologists at Johns Hopkins Hospital, USA.

The report outlined a protocol for safe MRI scans based on device selection, programming and careful patient monitoring.

MRI scans, which are important for the diagnosis and monitoring of tumours and other soft tissue pathologies, have traditionally been considered too dangerous for people with implanted devices.

Saman Nazarian, cardiac electrophysiologist, said: “The guidelines we have published can be used to make MRI more available to people who could benefit from early detection of cancer and other diseases and for guiding surgeons during procedures.”

The study followed 438 people with implanted cardiac devices. With appropriate precautions, the researchers found, patients with pacemakers and defibrillators can undergo an MRI scan with very low risk of the device malfunctioning, moving or heating.

The protocol, developed over 15 years by cardiac electrophysiologist and biomedical engineer Henry Halperin, includes:

  • Checking the age of the device – pacemakers made after 1998 and defibrillators made after 2000 have electromagnetic interference protection.
  • Checking the type and configuration of the leads – e.g. if a lead is disconnected and not part of the device’s function, an MRI is not safe.
  • Reprogramming the device to a safe mode during the scan.
  • Monitoring the patient's blood pressure, oxygen saturation and electrical activity of the heart, and looking for any unusual symptoms.
  • Checking and reprogramming the device after the scan.
  • A follow-up check after 3–6 months.

“With the advancing age of the population and the expanding indications for pacemakers and defibrillators, this has become an increasingly important issue, and a lifesaving one for some patients,” commented Nazarian.

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