There is little information on the practice of nuclear cardiology in Great Britain. On behalf of the British Nuclear Cardiology Group in October 1988 we sent a postal questionnaire to 143 hospitals with nuclear medicine facilities (at least 70% of such hospitals). Sixty nine replies were received (48%), of which 23 (33%) were from teaching hospitals and 46 (39%) non-teaching. In these hospitals 147,904 isotope investigations were performed annually (mean 2311 per centre) of which 17,298 (12%) (mean 254 per centre) were cardiac studies. Of these, 59% were equilibrium radionuclide ventriculograms, 14% first pass ventriculograms, and 27% thallium-201 scans. Rest studies were performed more commonly by radiographers or technicians (63%) than by doctors (20%), but doctors were more commonly involved in stress studies (48%). Radiologists reported the studies more often (28%) than they performed them (6%). Methods of acquisition and analysis were varied and, for instance, the lower limit of normal left ventricular ejection fraction ranged from 35% to 75% (mean 49%). For thallium imaging 42% of centres used dipyridamole in some patients and 24% used tomography. These data show that nuclear cardiology techniques are used much less frequently in Great Britain than in countries such as the United States and Germany, that the ratio of blood pool to myocardial perfusion imaging is much higher than elsewhere, and that methods are poorly standardised. They may provide the impetus to improve the service and serve as a baseline for future surveys.
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