Scottish hospital in world-first heart device operation

A Scottish hospital has become the first in the world to safely perform vital scans on patients with pacemaker-style devices.

Patients at risk of a cardiac arrest are currently fitted with Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICD), a matchbox-sized device that delivers a shock when it notices an irregular heartbeat.

The Golden Jubilee National Hospital, in Clydebank, trialed a new kind of device that means patients can undergo an MRI scan without interference from its magnetic fields.

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Scientists hope this could pave the way for better diagnosis and treatment as MRI scans can detect signs of stroke, tumours and heart problems. The Ellipse ICD, developed by US manufacture St Jude Medical, will be tested in a further 165 patients at 60 MRI centres around the world.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Roy Gardner, who is leading the trial at the Golden Jubilee, said: “While these devices are often life-saving, they do not allow patients to undergo MRI scans, which are crucial for detecting and monitoring a number of conditions, including signs of a stroke, tumours and complex cardiac abnormalities, which means that these vulnerable patients have to be treated using less detailed imaging systems.

He added: “We are playing a key role in making these devices available for use elsewehere and sharing our knowledge and expertise with other specialist centres to help thousands of individuals suffering from heart conditions.

“Our first patient’s procedure went very smoothly and provided a great start to an incredibly important project. As such, we are now about to recruit our sixth patient to this study.”