Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant has officially opened the new Spectrum Dynamics DSPECT Gamma Camera at Royal Brompton Hospital in London.
Mr Plant, who had a heart scan at Royal Brompton Hospital earlier this year, was guest-of-honour as the high-tech camera – one of only three in the UK – was unveiled in the hospital’s nuclear medicine department.
Robert Plant said: “I have been keeping an eye on my health and I wanted a thorough check on my heart. Dr Duncan Dymond of St Bartholomew’s Hospital referred me to Professor Richard Underwood at Royal Brompton for a nuclear medicine scan and I was reassured by them both that all was well. I am delighted to learn of the new equipment that will help patients in the future.”
The new camera significantly improves the quality of images that can be taken of a patient’s heart compared with a conventional gamma camera. The higher resolution means that problems can be detected at an earlier stage and the higher sensitivity means that patients can be imaged in a fraction of the time, usually less than five minutes compared with fifteen, or they can receive less radiation.
The enhanced images may be of particular benefit to the many Royal Brompton and Harefield patients who require catheter ablation for an irregular heartbeat. This is a treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to destroy the area causing the abnormal heart rhythm. The enhanced images mean that rhythm specialist cardiologists, such as Royal Brompton’s Dr Sabine Ernst, may in future be able to identify the affected area more precisely and target treatment accordingly.
Professor of Cardiac Imaging, Richard Underwood, said: “This was a special day for us and for all of the staff who have worked so hard to install and use the camera. We are pleased to be in the vanguard of using this next-generation camera to help our patients. We are working with Link Medical and with Spectrum Dynamics to make full use of its capabilities and we are particularly excited at the prospect of making measurements of blood flow to the heart muscle. We know that this will allow us to spot problems early and to recommend the very best treatment for our patients.”