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Nuclear cardiology in the UK 1994: activity relative to Europe, USA, and British Cardiac Society targets


Objective To survey practice in nuclear cardiology in the UK in 1994.

Design A questionnaire was sent to 219 centres performing nuclear imaging asking for details of current practice in nuclear cardiology. Replies were received from 192 centres (88%).

Main outcome measures Activity in performance of myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) and radionuclide ventriculography (RNV), anticipated changes in activity, differences between regional and district hospitals, technical imaging parameters, and referral sources.

Results Of the responding centres, 125 (65%) performed nuclear cardiology procedures. More regional than district hospitals performed nuclear cardiology procedures (85% v 55%, p < 0.0003) and regional centres performed a higher proportion (62%v 24%, p < 0.001) of nuclear cardiology activity. Nuclear cardiology activity was 0.82 scans per 1000 population per year (MPI 0.56, RNV 0.26). There has been a significant increase (24%) in nuclear cardiology since 1988. There has been a pronounced rise in MPI (350%) while RNV has fallen by 47%. Myocardial perfusion activity in the UK remains very low (25% and 5% in regional and district hospitals, respectively) compared with the 1994 figures of 2.2/1000/year for Europe or 10.8/1000/year for the USA.

Conclusions MPI has increased on average by 23%/annum (compound rate) since 1988, but in 1994 was still only 32% of the British Cardiac Society target of 2.6/1000/year. Proper resources for capital expenditure on new equipment and new staff will be important to maintain momentum in closing the gap. Also important is improved clinical understanding, as already implemented by including nuclear cardiology in guidelines for specialist cardiology training.

  • survey
  • nuclear cardiology
  • myocardial perfusion imaging
  • radionuclide ventriculography
  • guidelines
  • British Cardiac Society

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