Bradford Adopts Heartscape Vest To Diagnose Heart Attacks

In short

It’s been widely reported in the popular press that Bradford Teaching Hospital has become the first UK centre to start using a new diagnostic “vest” in order to diagnose heart disease and confirm heart attacks early.

Introduced in Europe 6 months ago the Heartscape™ 3D ECG System with 80-lead vest, is designed to give Accident and Emergency Physicians, Interventional Cardiologists, and A&E nurses a more complete diagnostic picture by providing a 360 degree electrocardiographic view of the heart.

How does it work?

The Heartscape 3D ECG System uses a diagnostic algorithm to identify indications of possible Myocardial Infarction (MI) – including MIs without ST-segment elevation on traditional 12-lead ECGs, and in patients with Left Bundle Branch Block (LBBB).  Studies demonstrate greater sensitivity and comparable specificity in detecting acute MIs compared to 12-lead ECGs. According to its launch press release from last year numerous studies involving thousands of patients have shown that the Heartscape system’s 80-lead technology can improve early diagnosis and help detect acute MIs missed by traditional 12-lead ECGs.

Clinician comments

As reported in the Daily Mail, Dr James Dunbar, consultant physician at Bradford Royal Infirmary, said ‘This new Heartscape vest will help us gain an instant in-depth 3D view, making it easier to interpret whether a patient is having a heart attack, enabling treatment to start earlier and hopefully lead to improved patient outcomes.’

Prof Clive Kay, trust medical director, said the cardiac vest would help identify high-risk patients ‘when every minute counts’ so treatment could begin earlier than at present.

Cardiology expert Prof W Frank Peacock, a specialist in emergency medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, has spent the last two days at the hospital training staff how to use the device ahead of its introduction next month.

The plan

The vest will be available to high risk patients in the hospital’s A&E and medical admissions units from March. The trust hopes to widen the vest trial throughout the hospital in 2013. It will be an interesting exercise, because while we don’t have any information about cost, the technology doesn’t look like it will come cheap. 

We’ve included a link to the product brochure pdf here

Regulatory status

The product carries CE marking. It is not available in USA.

Source: Verathon Inc., Daily Mail