By AuntMinnieEurope.com staff writers

May 14, 2018 -- A new protocol designed to eliminate delays in MRI scans for patients with pacemakers won the Diagnostic Team of the Year award from the BMJ.

A group from Barts Heart Centre and University College Hospitals in London won the prize for its work on pacemaker patients requiring an MRI exam. Some patients have to wait years for an MRI scan or are simply turned down, with no explanation given. Approximately 440,000 people in the U.K. have a pacemaker or defibrillator implanted, and they have a 75% chance of needing an MRI scan in their lifetime. The total number of scans performed each year on patients with implanted devices is only around 1,000, fewer than the 1,600 that are indicated for a brain tumor.

Team from Barts Heart Centre and University College Hospitals in London with their award.
The team from Barts Heart Centre and University College Hospitals in London with their award. Image courtesy of the BMJ.

The Barts team devised a standard protocol suitable for pacemaker patients designed to eliminate delays. Discussions with manufacturers and with the U.S. National Institutes of Health led to MRI sequences being optimized for implant patients, which increased sixfold over two years. Now Barts regularly receives referrals from across the country.

The group has produced educational materials, set up a website, and encouraged changes in guidelines from the British Heart Rhythm Society.

The BMJ Awards aim to promote excellence in healthcare, showcase knowledge and experience that will inspire others, and give exposure to teams who demonstrate courage and passion for overcoming challenges.

Every year, more than 350 teams enter the BMJ Awards and compete to get their work recognized in front of their peers, their organization, and the wider healthcare community.


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