Oxford University says 'heart scans could help thousands avoid unnecessary invasive procedures'

Oxford University research finds an MRI could change how doctors treat at least half of patients Credit: ITV News Meridian

Oxford University research has found heart scans could help thousands of people avoid unnecessary invasive procedures.

According to a study, an MRI could change how doctors treat at least half of patients.

Around 50,000 people are admitted to hospital annually with suspected heart attacks, those at risk are currently recommended to have a coronary angiogram.

A coronary angiogram involves inserting a small tube into an artery and guiding it up to the heart, this allows doctors to look inside a patient's coronary arteries to check for narrowing or blockages and plan treatment.

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation and consultant cardiologist, says: "With an ageing and increasingly unhealthy population, along with ongoing disruption to the health system and the effects of covid-19 on the cardiovascular system, the number of people with heart disease in the UK is set to increase.

"It’s vital that we can get everyone on a path to receive the tests and treatment they need as quickly as possible to save and improve more lives.

"Invasive procedures like coronary angiograms will continue to have a crucial role in heart care, delivering important treatments such as stents that can help to save lives and stop future heart attacks.

"But if the results of larger trials are positive, this scan-first approach could help doctors to identify patients who don’t stand to benefit, allowing them to avoid the small but important risk of complications."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...