Members of Great Yarmouth and Waveney Heartcare Cardiac Support Group visited the James Paget earlier this week to take a look at a new piece of equipment that they have funded to help diagnose heart conditions.
The new semi-supine bicycle allows patients to be scanned while undergoing an exercise test, giving cardiac specialists the opportunity to see what’s happening and to collect data to assist with diagnosis. The new equipment now also means patients often don’t have to travel to another hospital for more detailed diagnostic tests.
The kit, a GE Healthcare eLBike Ergometer, is an advanced exercise bike which can be linked to a scanner and monitor. Patients sit on the cycle with their feet on the pedals and their back up against a comfortable couch-type seat. They are then gently lowered and tilted into a position on their side and are then scanned while cycling. The resulting scans give information about where there might be issues and help indicate whether surgery may be required or not.
Chief Cardiac Physiologist Emma Hunter said; “The new equipment allows us to scan patients during exercise to identify heart problems that are not apparent at rest. Before we had this equipment we had to use a standard treadmill for exercise testing - and you can’t scan during this, so we couldn’t actually see what was happening to the heart during exercise. This equipment makes it possible to get the important diagnostic information required and we’d like to thank everyone involved in raising the money.”
Consultant Cardiologist Dr Justin Zaman said; “Previously we often had to send the patient to another hospital – the Norfolk & Norwich or Papworth – for more detailed scans so this means more local people can be seen, and diagnosed, at the James Paget. It also gives us some capacity to see more patients if required to support partner organisations.”
While at the hospital on Tuesday, 11 February, members of the group met with Norfolk Blood Bikes who have also benefitted from a generous donation, which allowed them to purchase two additional motorcycles. The organisation transport blood, plasma, platelets, samples and any other urgently required medical items to hospitals in Norfolk as well as to the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
Mary Stamp, Chair of Great Yarmouth and Waveney Heartcare Cardiac Support Group, said a combination of donations and fundraising had meant they could support both the hospital and Norfolk Blood Bikes.
“Most of the money has come through donations but we also hold raffles, Christmas events and a cabaret night each year to raise funds. The money raised means we can support local organisations and future patients and it’s interesting to see and learn more about what a difference this is making.”