Nuclear cardiology in the UK: British Nuclear Cardiology Society Survey 1994

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This study surveyed practice in nuclear cardiology in the UK in 1994. A questionnaire was sent to 219 centres performing nuclear imaging asking for details of current practice in nuclear cardiology. Replies were received from 192 centres (88%). Activity in performance of myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) and radionuclide ventriculography (RNV), anticipated changes in activity, differences between regional and district general hospitals, technical imaging parameters and referral sources were surveyed. Of the responding centres, 125 (65%) performed nuclear cardiology. More regional centres (85 vs 55%, P < 0.0003) performed a higher proportion (62 vs 24%, P < 0.001) of nuclear cardiology activity compared with district general hospitals. Nuclear medicine activity was estimated at 9.3 scans/1000/year, of which 8.9% was cardiology (0.82/1000/year; MPI, 0.56/1000/year; RNV, 0.26/1000/year). A comparison with previous surveys showed a significant increase of 24% in nuclear cardiology since 1988, with a strong rise in MPI (350%); however, RNV has fallen by 47%. Myocardial perfusion activity in the UK remains very low (25 and 5% for MPI and RNV respectively) when compared with the average of 2.2/1000/year for Europe and 10.8/1000/year for the USA. In conclusion, MPI has increased on average by 23% per annum (compound rate) since 1988, but in 1994 was still only 32% of the British Cardiac Society target of 2.6 scans/1000/year. Proper resourcing for capital expenditure on new equipment and new staff will be important to maintain momentum in closing the gap. Also important is clinical understanding, as already implemented by including nuclear cardiology in guidelines for specialist cardiology training.

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