Patient undergoes first heart scan of its kind in Shetland

The first coronary angiogram in Shetland has been hailed as a major progression in plans to provide care closer to home.

NHS Shetland’s director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan told members this week she “really wanted to showcase” the new development.

The £600,000 new CT scanner was installed at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in 2021 allowing the team to develop the angiography service over the past 18 months.

The first scan, which took place in March, allows doctors to look at the arteries supplying blood to the heart to diagnose a range of health conditions.

Mrs Carolan said it meant patients who previously had to travel to Aberdeen could now have the scan performed locally.

“We hope to be able to do more of this in the future,” she said.

“It is just one of the things the medical imaging team and others are doing to provide more diagnostic locally and that very much feeds into our strategy of having care closer to home.”

Board chairman Gary Robinson said the update was “timely” as he had recently updated the the new health secretary Michael Matheson on the improvements to medical imaging services in Shetland.

Mr Robinson said there were more improvements to come with the installation of the new MRI scanner.

As reported last week, NHS Shetland expects the new MRI scanner to be up and running next summer after completing the delayed tendering process.

Philips Medical Systems has been awarded the £3.5m contract, which includes the new scanner and the bespoke building to host it.

Mr Robinson said that with flights to Glasgow now costing as much as £600, it was important to do as much as possible locally – as it was “better for us and our patients”.

Mrs Carolan’s report said developing diagnostic testing in Shetland was a “key priority” for the board, with work also under way to begin dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to measure bone density.

After the new CT scanner was delivered in 2021, head of medical imagery Lucy Wilson told The Shetland Times that cardiac scans were one of the most important new features of the equipment.

Along with the new MRI scanner, she said it would help the health board attract more skilled specialists to work in the isles.


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