By Ahmed El-Medany
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is widely available and established in the United Kingdom (UK) with high scan volumes by international standards.
The British Society for CMR periodically surveyed all UK CMR units, starting in 2008. An electronic survey was sent to the service leads of all CMR units in the UK in 2019, requesting data from 2017 and 2018. Responses were then analysed and interpreted by region alongside population statistics.
The survey response rate was 100% from 82 units across the nation. 11,967 scans were performed in 2018, an approximate fivefold increase in CMR use since 2008. The survey results also showed high variability in CMR use across the UK with a >10-fold difference between the highest and the lowest regions. Waiting times are also found to be highly variable across regions with a sixfold difference between the region with the shortest and the longest mean wait.
The researchers state: ‘High levels of regional variation in access CMR are unacceptable given its strong evidence base and the high-level recommendations for its use in international clinical care guidelines’.
‘Considering the complex funding arrangements for CMR in the UK, action is needed by healthcare providers, the NHS, and the government’.
Reference: Keenan NG, Captur G, McCann GP, Berry C, Myerson SG, Fairbairn T, Hudsmith L, O’Regan DP, Westwood M, Greenwood JP. Regional variation in cardiovascular magnetic resonance service delivery across the UK. Heart. 2021 Mar 24.