Cardiovascular — Acute Vascular Imaging Centre

The Acute Vascular Imaging Centre (AVIC) at the John Radcliffe Hospital is an internationally unique facility dedicated to clinical research during the earliest phases of acute coronary syndromes and stroke. The aim is to combine extensive local expertise with an emergency imaging capability to develop a programme of applied research that will address important deficiencies in the assessment of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and stroke. The purpose is to generate and test new approaches to the early management of these conditions that will fundamentally change treatment pathways in the NHS.

The investigators bring internationally-leading expertise in the development and application of imaging for the characterisation of cardiovascular disease and quantification of response to treatment. As they have shown repeatedly in non-acute cardiovascular disease, the precision and reproducibility of MRI allows accurate quantification of clinically important parameters in small numbers of patients. As a result, it has been possible to gain mechanistic insights, refine diagnostic approaches and evaluate new interventions in a much shorter time than is required for conventional outcome studies.

Funded by the MRC, British Heart Foundation, Wellcome Trust and Department of Health, AVIC is a purpose-designed Clinical Research Centre that opened in May 2009. The centre will contain ‘high-dependency’ bays with full facilities for resuscitation and anaesthesia. At its core is a fully-equipped interventional angiography suite, functionally conjoined to a 3T MRI scanner by a mechanised rapid transfer system.

The integrated programme of applied clinical research draws on exceptional local expertise and strong collaborations to maximise research potential, and will further benefit from developments in Oxford as a Regional Heart Attack Centre and builds on substantial existing clinical research infrastructure and strong NHS-University links fostered by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.