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New heart scanner – the first in Scotland – to benefit NHS Grampian patients

By Lorna Thompson

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A NEW scanner – the first of its kind in Scotland – has been unveiled by NHS Grampian.

The advanced technology, known as IQ SPECT CT, can quickly take 4D images of the heart.

It will benefit predominately cardiac patients with ischaemic heart disease.

The system at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is the first of its kind in Scotland.

Professor Roger Staff, head of imaging physics, said the scanner was a cutting-edge development for cardiac and cancer services in the region and keeps NHS Grampian at the forefront of diagnostic technology

He added: "Ultimately, this world-class scanner will benefit our patients and their experience.

"Historically, cardiac scans, for instance, could take upwards of 15 minutes. With this new machine, they can now be complete in less than five minutes.

Clinical scientists (from left) Jennifer McCormick, Margo-Rose McNab and Mark Pether with the IQ SPECT CT scanner at ARI.
Clinical scientists (from left) Jennifer McCormick, Margo-Rose McNab and Mark Pether with the IQ SPECT CT scanner at ARI.

"The system helps improve patient comfort as people are required to stay still for less time. The technology can also work with lower doses of radiation, benefiting both the patient and saving resources.

"Quicker scan times also provide the potential, in future, for patient capacity to be increased – with more scans taking place in the same timeframe.

"The department is delighted with the new machine."

Prof Staff said Covid-19 restrictions had presented challenges during the installation process.

"We had difficulties with the German installation team getting to the site and changes in standards brought about by the pandemic. However, we are very pleased with the final system," he said.

"The new scanner, supplied by Siemens Healthineers, allows multiple multi-modality imaging, that is, two types of imaging at the same visit. The scanner allows imaging of the radioactive distribution of activity in the body representing the body's metabolism and function.

"The demand for such examination increases with more patients being required to be imaged multiple times to assess response to therapy."

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