Heart patients to benefit from £400,000 grant for state-of-the-art scanning

1 May 2018        

Category: Research

Cardiology patients and researchers will benefit from state-of-the-art MRI scanning facilities in Edinburgh thanks to a £400,000 grant from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Dr Scott Semple with MRI

The funds will pay for a major scanner upgrade - improvements to hardware and software - to ensure that heart imaging equipment at the Edinburgh Imaging Facility QMRI, at
Queens Medical Research Institute, offers the best facilities to cardiologists and scientists.

The BHF initially invested in the MRI scanner at the Edinburgh Imaging Facility QMRI in 2008. It’s been used to pioneer several cardiovascular imaging applications and large trials, focussing on developing non-invasive methods to assess cardiovascular disease.

Dr Scott Semple, Deputy Director of the Edinburgh Imaging Facility QMRI, explained:

“We need to upgrade our existing system to remain current with scientific thinking and to take advantage of new technical developments in the field of MRI. In collaboration with our industrial partners Siemens Healthcare, and with the BHF’s funding, we will be upgrading our existing MRI scanner to a state-of-the-art Siemens Skyra, which will improve our cardiac imaging capabilities.

“The upgrade means we will be able to image the heart much more rapidly, leading to shorter examination times for patients and a more comfortable experience. We’ll also be able to image the heart and circulatory system in much more detail which will continue to strengthen our development of novel, imaging-based cardiovascular research for years to come.”

MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, works by creating a strong magnetic field. This causes protons, tiny particles within the body, to line-up with the magnetic field. Radio frequency pulses are then used to deliver energy and briefly knock the protons out of alignment. By measuring differences in how protons return to position, scientists are able to build up detailed pictures of the heart and its structures using the intrinsic magnetic properties of the body.

James Cant, Director at BHF Scotland, said:

“We’re funding pioneering cardiovascular science at our Centre of Research Excellence at the University of Edinburgh, so it’s crucial that we give scientists the tools they need.

“Funding investments like this is a vital part of making discoveries happen and turning them into medical advances that transform and save lives.

“We’ve only been able to make this important investment because of the fantastic generosity of the public. We rely on their support to drive forward research programmes to keep the nation’s hearts healthy and prevent the tragic loss of life.”

Heart and circulatory disease causes more than a quarter (27 per cent) of all deaths in Scotland, or more than 15,000 deaths per year. Every month 2,100 people will go to hospital due to a heart attack and 685,000 people are living with cardiovascular disease. The BHF is the leading independent funder of heart research in the UK.