Thousands of Gloucestershire heart patients could benefit from new life saving technology with your help.
Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity is launching the Gloucestershire Heart Appeal to help fund two new echo scanners. It aims to raise £300,000 to fund this new technology in both Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals.
These new machines will provide the county’s Cardiology team with cutting edge real time 3D imaging to give extra support as they work with an increasing number of heart patients.
An echocardiogram, or ‘echo’ is an ultrasound scan which uses sound waves to create live images of the heart, and around 13,000 heart patients are scanned each year at Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal hospitals.
Consultant Cardiologist Dr Chris McAloon, a specialist in cardiac imaging at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “An echo is a simple, often routine test, that we ask for with almost every heart patient. We use them to help many patients with conditions such as heart attacks, heart failure, valve heart disease and inherited cardiac conditions.”
“These new scanners with cutting edge technology will make an enormous difference to help with assessing heart function, diagnosis, predicting the risk of future problems and managing treatment.”
As well as treating heart patients, the high quality imaging on the new scanners can benefit people with other conditions, for example monitoring the impact of cancer treatment on the heart or checking heart function before surgery. Echocardiograms have also been used during COVID-19 to help manage patients with complex needs, particularly those in intensive care, and will continue to be important for anyone who might have cardiac complications as a result of COVID.
Richard Smith, Head of Fundraising at the charity, said: “More than one in 10 people in the UK are living with heart or circulatory diseases and many of us will know someone affected. This amazing new technology really can give extra support to our NHS teams in their lifesaving work in Gloucestershire.”
“Thanks to our supporters we’ve recently been able to fund CT Scanners and digital X-ray technology which is benefitting tens of thousands of people each year; we’re hoping that Gloucestershire gets behind this latest appeal to make an impact for heart patients.”
“I don’t think I would be here today without the treatment I received”
Having rheumatic fever as a child left Hazel Jack with a damaged heart. Since then, she has been in and out of the hospital over the years including valve replacement surgery and treatment for atrial fibrillation, a condition which causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.
Early last year, the great grandmother was sent for an echocardiogram at Cheltenham General Hospital after feeling increasingly unwell. The advanced technology on the scanner was able to pick up on a problem with her replacement mitral valve which lets blood flow from one part of the heart to another.
“They found that the valve which had been replaced years ago was not functioning. They also sent me for an emergency angiogram and found I had a blocked coronary artery as well,” she said.
In May last year, she underwent specialist surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to place a new valve within her existing one. She was also later fitted with a stent to help with her blocked artery.
The 78-year-old from Tuffley, in Gloucester, said she cannot thank the NHS enough for the treatment she received.
“They have been absolutely marvellous. If it hadn’t been for their help, I don’t think I would be here today,” she said.
Mrs Jack is no stranger to the NHS having worked as a nurse for many years in Gloucestershire and is a retired ward sister. She took the very first patient into the tower block at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital when it was opened in the 1975. She is urging people to help support the appeal.
“Cardiology might not be the first cause most people think of to support but it is absolutely lifesaving. It can be also be life enhancing for so many people as well – getting the treatment enabled me to go back to my hobbies such as playing bowls,” she said.