On the Agenda: Vest 'can detect heart attacks'

Bradford Royal Infirmary has become the first hospital in Europe to introduce a cardiac vest that can diagnose heart attack victims up to 12 hours faster than normal.

Heart vest: detecting heart attacks (Asadour-Guzelian)
Heart vest: detecting heart attacks (Asadour-Guzelian)

About the vests

The cardiac vests enable doctors to see an instant 360-degree view of the heart. The vests will be available to high-risk patients in Bradford Royal Infirmary's A&E and medical admissions units from March. Patients suspected of suffering from a heart attack will be fitted with a vest, on which 80 electronic sensors create a three-dimensional computer image to provide staff with a more accurate picture of the heart than any machine currently available.

PR strategy

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust stressed that the region has one of the country's highest rates of deaths from chronic heart disease. The trust's in-house comms operation briefed national and regional press on why the trial was needed. Bradford hospitals treat 300 patients a year suffering major attacks and 1,200 with minor attacks. The comms team also provided the media with press releases and photos of a patient wearing the vests. The trust's medical director Clive Kay held interviews saying the vests would help identify high-risk patients and Paul Knee, MD of vest manufacturer Verathon Medical UK, gave quotes to the media.

Media coverage

The story has been picked up by the BBC, The Metro, Daily Mail as well as regional press including the Bradford Telegraph & Argus.

In numbers

300 patients a year suffer major heart attacks in Bradford*

80 electronic sensors create a 3D computer image of the heart

*Source: Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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