Heart Tests

There are many different heart tests which Cardiologists can use to investigate heart problems and diagnose conditions.
Arrow In this section

The echocardiography department at MFT, housed at the North West Heart Centre, is one of the largest and most advanced in the UK, offering the latest techniques in 3D echo and MRI and CT imaging.

There are many different heart tests which Cardiologists can use to investigate heart problems and diagnose conditions. The echocardiography department at MFT, housed at the North West Heart Centre, is one of the largest and most advanced in the UK, offering the latest techniques in 3D echo and MRI and CT imaging.

Echocardiography

An echocardiograph, often referred to as an echo, is one of the most common diagnostic tests. This test uses ultrasound to produce moving, real-time images of the heart, to check how well the heart is functioning and detect any changes to its structure.
The main role of echo is to look at the structure and function of the heart with ultrasound. The MFT echo department is one of the largest in the UK with advanced accreditation awarded by the British Society of Echocardiography (BSE) in all aspects of echo. This includes basic scans performed with a probe placed on the chest to more advanced internal scans with a probe passed down the food pipe.

Every year we carry out over 10,000 echos ranging from basic studies looking at the heart at rest from the front of the chest to looking at the heart internally while surgeons are fixing valves in theatre. We also carry out 14,000 studies and our department has an excellent reputation for quality, training, research and investment in staff. We not only provide a service for patients at MFT but also the Christie Hospital, Withington Community Hospital, Wilmslow Health Centre and provides complex scans for Stockport NHS Trust.

The department has 17 echo physiologists with accreditation from the BSE who do the bulk of the work, including teaching medical students and clinical scientists from Manchester University. The principal physiologist has won national accolades for e.g. Chief Scientific Officer’s Clinical Leader of the year award in 2013, and winner of the Advancing Healthcare award in 2014. We have highly skilled echo nurses who support the complex procedures.

3D Echo

The cardiology department is well known for its tertiary cardiac work – meaning patients are referred to us by GPs hospitals across the North West. We are particularly well-known for our expertise around heart valve disease and without the support of advanced echo a lot of this work would not be possible. One such advanced technique used in the department is 3D echo. When this is used with internal ultrasound probes it is possible to generate highly detailed pictures, making it possible for surgeons and cardiologists tackle very difficult valve reconstructions.

Because of our track record for high quality 3D echo assessment of mitral valve disease and our reputable surgical mitral repair programme, MFT was granted “Mitraclip centre” status by NHS England in October 2014, one of only three commissioned centres in the country. Mitraclips are devices to bind leaflets of the valve together without open heart surgery and is guided by an internal echo scan. Other important roles for the internal echo in the catheter lab are to guide closure of holes in the heart and replacements of aortic valves without open heart surgery.

Stress Echo

The department also houses the largest stress echo service in the UK according to the 2015 survey from the BSE, performing just over 2,400 studies per year. This test is used to detect angina by doing a scan whilst “stressing” the heart on a bicycle or with drugs. We have been able to develop a same-day diagnostic service for our rapid access chest pain clinic, the only one of its kind in the UK.

Cardiac MRI and CT imaging

We provide the full range of advanced cross-sectional (MRI and CT) cardiac imaging services, in collaboration with our service provider Alliance Medical.

Our state-of-the-art equipment includes two dedicated cardiac MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanners for assessment of heart muscle diseases as well as a Cardiac CT (Computed Tomography) scanner used for ultra-low radiation non-invasive coronary artery assessment.

Research

The department has a long track record in research and participates in a number of international trials. Several echo doctors have studied for their higher professional degrees within the MFT echo dept. We are also well recognised for our excellence in teaching and training. Several echo courses are run in the department and many of the team members are regular invited guest lecturers at national conferences and courses.

The department has always been well represented at the BSE executive team. One of our echo doctors held office as a past president and currently the principal physiologist is the vice-president. Others lead the stress echo team and the accreditation team for the UK.

Referrals

Patients are referred to Imaging by their GPs or hospital consultants.

Contact

Telephone: Cardiac Diagnostic Centre – 0161 291 4644