Case Studies

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (Queen Alexandra Hospital)

HeartFlow would like to take a moment to recognise sites that are going above and beyond to deliver an outstanding CT service to patients.

We are excited and proud to recognise Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU), which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital for its Outstanding CT Service.

Delivering cardiac care to two million

The cardiac team at PHU serves a base population of 675,000 which increases to two million when factoring in acute services. While the Queen Alexandra Hospital is home to two high-end cardiac capable CT scanners, a staffing shortfall threatened to compromise its ability to conduct high quality cardiac CT services for a large patient base.

Upskilling staff to support service delivery

To continue to run an efficient service and respond to the high volumes of cardiac CT requirements, PHU took the unconventional decision to train its lead cardiac radiographer to administer the on-table drugs required to perform a CT Coronary Angiogram (CTCA). While this required the development of rigid protocols, careful oversight and coordination, it has successfully reduced the need for radiologists to be in attendance during scanning. As a result:

  • Teams can keep up with demand and limit patient waiting times for urgent CT scans to two weeks
  • If a clinician requests a CT, the scan is now performed and reported in less than six weeks
  • An estimated 2,000 coronary CTs are now being conducted annually by the Trust compared to around 1,800 pre-pandemic

Impact of the HeartFlow Analysis

The HeartFlow Analysis has been available within Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust for 3 years, and together with its new approach to delivering CTCA, is helping teams to streamline service delivery and develop treatment plans that optimise the patient’s journey. The partnership between the Trust and HeartFlow has resulted in:

  • Improved procedural planning
    • Incorporating HeartFlow into the catheterisation lab has sped up planning for interventional procedures, and helped the team manage their caseloads.
  • Reassuring patients
    • HeartFlow has helped doctors educate and reassure patients about their procedures – the physicians have found that those suffering from heart disease find it easier to understand HeartFlow’s digital 3D model than an angiogram and consequently feel more informed about proposed treatment plans.
  • New ways of working
    • Queen Alexandra Hospital was one of the first in the UK to begin working with HeartFlow and has developed a close working relationship with the team, and a strong understanding of the technology.
    • Consequently, the team achieves exceptional image quality, which has given it greater confidence and accuracy in preparing for procedures and developing treatment plans.
Dr Paula McParland, Consultant Cardiothoracic Radiologist, said:
“Having a radiographer-led service has been fantastic. Now, with a cardiac radiographer able to administer GTNs and beta blockers, the workload for the entire team is more manageable and we’ve been able to increase our scanning capacity for both inpatients and outpatients. That means we’re able to diagnose patients faster and identify those who need more urgent intervention. To develop this service safely has taken time, careful planning and training. It has been immensely beneficial to our patients, it’s certainly a step I’d recommend to colleagues in other Trusts.”
“I’m incredibly proud of what our team has achieved, particularly during the disruption of the pandemic.”
Dr Peter Haworth, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, said:
“Having a close working relationship with the radiology team at Queen Alexandra is absolutely essential to delivering the best patient care. The more team members that can carry out coronary CTs, the quicker we’re able to develop treatment plans.”
“The strength of our relationship has also allowed us to fine tune our imaging processes and the information we share for HeartFlow Analysis. We’ve been able to hone this to the point that we’re consistently confident in the reports and findings that we receive back. Essentially, this has overhauled the way we approach coronary heart disease within the Trust, minimising our use of invasive diagnostic techniques and developing a practice that maximises efficiency. Ultimately, that reduces the time patients spend in hospital and improves their experiences and outcomes.”

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