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Radiology Crisis in the UK Forces 56,000 Angina Patients to Forgo CT Scans

In the United Kingdom, around 56,000 patients with angina, a chest condition that can decrease blood flow to the heart, were unable to undergo necessary CT scans last year due to the region’s radiologist shortage.

According to a recent review from the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) and the British Society of Cardiovascular Imaging (BSCI), there should have been 132,090 CT coronary angiography (CTCA) tests performed throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 2017. However, only 75,791 —or 57 percent — of those tests were administered.

Approximately 69,900 scans were performed in England, the highest number of CTCA scans of any UK country. Although that number is only a fraction of the exams that needed to be processed, according to the imaging organizations, 111,239 should have been performed. In Scotland, almost 8,000 patients missed out on CTCA scans, and in Northern Ireland, that figure was around 2,100. Welsh patients suffered the greatest lack of access; 78 percent of the minimum number of scans needed didn’t get processed, leaving 4,854 patients unable to undergo scans. According to an anonymous poll conducted by BSCI consultants, the wait time for CTCA scans is around six months.

“In many hospitals it is easier for a runner with a dodgy knee to get a magnetic resonance scan than it is for a patient on the verge of a heart attack to get a CTCA,” said BSCI president Giles Roditi, MD. “Deadly cases of heart disease are being missed because we can’t deliver these scans properly across the U.K.”

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