Vest that can diagnose heart attacks as soon as they happen to be trialled in British hospital
Vest contains 80 sensors to provide a 360 degree 3D colour view of the heart
Patients at a British hospital will be the first in the world to use a revolutionary cardiac vest designed to immediately alert medics to heart attacks.
Sufferers could be diagnosed up to 12 hours earlier than usual if trials of the new Heartscape device, which contains 80 sensors attached to a patient’s chest and back, are successful.
Bradford Royal Infirmary will be the first to introduce the vest which translate electrical signals from the heart to give doctors an instant 360 degree, three-dimensional colour view of the organ. This is a more accurate picture than any machine can provide.
Dr James Dunbar, Consultant Physician Bradford Royal Infirmary, checks patient Paul Knee's heart with the revolutionary vest
The pictures give doctors detailed information within minutes about whether a patient is suffering an attack and where within the heart the problem is situated.
Conventional electrocardiograph (ECG) technology has been available for 60 years but its limitations mean patients can face delays of up 12 hours for blood test results, during which continuing damage may be done.
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, whose infirmary treats 300 patients a year suffering major attacks and 1,200 with minor ones, said it had been keen to obtain the vest after large-scale trials of an earlier version in the US showed it could immediately diagnose more life-threatening heart attacks than conventional two-dimensional equipment.
Dr James Dunbar, consultant physician at Bradford Royal Infirmary, said the vest would enable speedier treatment for heart attack patients but could also detect signs of heart disease.
The Bradford Royal Infirmary will be the first hospital in the UK to offer the life-saving vest to patients
He said: 'Current conventional machines are insensitive for diagnosis of heart disease.
'This new Heartscape vest will help us gain an instant in-depth 3D
view, making it easier to interpret whether a patient is having a heart attack, enabling treatment to start earlier and hopefully lead to improved patient outcomes.'
Prof Clive Kay, trust medical director, said the cardiac vest would help
identify high-risk patients 'when every minute counts' so treatment could begin earlier than at present.
Cardiology expert Prof W Frank Peacock, a specialist in emergency medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, has spent the last two days at the hospital training staff how to use the device ahead of its introduction next month.
The vest will be available to high risk patients in the hospital’s A&E and
medical admissions units from March. The trust hopes to widen the vest trial throughout the hospital in 2013.
Paul Knee, managing director of vest manufacturer Verathon Medical UK Ltd, said: 'If the Heartscape proves to be the success we all believe it can be, this could have major positive impact for patients across the NHS, particularly when trying to rapidly diagnose or exclude coronary heart disease in the A&E department.'