Secondary Care

Heart device on trial that could save the NHS £200 million a year

A new cardiac scanning device that could save the NHS £200 million a year is being trialled at four of the UK’s largest emergency departments in Bristol, Nottingham, Leicester and Sheffield.

The Vitalscan device, which has been developed by Creavo Medical Technologies and could revolutionise the way patients with chest pain are managed in emergency departments, works by conducting a non-invasive three to five-minute scan at a patient’s bedside to rule out significant cardiac conditions, such as heart attacks.

Data from the York Health Economics Consortium shows that 1.3 million A&E admissions in 2014/15 were due to chest pain. Of these, 63% ultimately had no cardiac-related condition but, the majority would still have gone through the same costly cardiac triage process of someone having a heart attack. Vitalscan has the potential to identify a significant proportion of these patients which would radically change the management of chest pain patients entering emergency departments. Conservative estimates indicate that the device could save the NHS £200 million a year, the equivalent of £3.85 million a week and £382 a minute, easing pressure on bed space in A&E departments and reducing patient anxiety by getting patients to the correct treatment more quickly.

Steve Parker, CEO of Creavo Medical Technologies says: “Cardiac-related chest pain is one of the biggest issues facing emergency departments in the western world due to the economic burden it places on healthcare services and the disruption it causes to inpatient care.

“The triage process for someone entering an emergency department with chest pain can take anywhere from six to 24 hours which places a huge amount of strain on resources.

“Early results from smaller sets of clinical trials indicate that Vitalscan can quickly identify and rule out significant ischemic heart disease so it prevents patients who aren’t suffering from a cardiac-related condition from having to go through the lengthy, expensive chest pain triage process, easing the burden on emergency departments at a time when they are facing unprecedented pressures.”

Creavo Medical Technologies was established to commercialise the work undertaken by Professor Ben Varcoe to develop Vitalscan, a portable, passive magnetocardiography (MCG) device that measures the electromagnetic fluctuations of the heart, while maintaining the accuracy and efficacy of older SQUID devices. MCG can detect extremely small magnetic fields in the heart that identify any significant changes that would indicate the patient is suffering from a serious cardiac condition. From Creavo’s point of view, MCG generates much more accurate signals and has clear advantages over a traditional electrocardiography (ECG) test.