Visitors to the John Radcliffe Hospital on Tuesday March 10 saw how people taken to hospital for acute vascular syndromes like heart attack and stroke are helping research to save lives.
A total of 16 visitors attended a fully booked tour of the University of Oxford’s Acute Vascular Imaging Centre (AVIC) as part of a programme of public events about medical research in Oxford that runs to March 18.
The centre was established in 2011 and is an internationally unique research centre for clinical cardiac and brain research in the emergency setting.
Senior Research Radiographer Juliet Semple explained emergency cases who are eligible for study are taken to a 3 Tesla MRI scanner during or after treatment in either the hospital’s Cardiac Catheter Labs or the Emergency Department.
Treatment could involve removing artery blockages or clots through techniques like inserting catheter tubes and stents or the administration of ‘clot busting’ drugs.
The AVIC MRI scan allows researchers to study the impact of treatments in real time on the body. If required, patients can also get treatment just a few yards from the scanner in an invasive angiography laboratory.
The department accommodates the work of an interactive consortium of clinical investigators from University departments and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages the John Radcliffe.
The event was part of Open Weeks, a programme of events from March 6 to 18 held by the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, based at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and run in partnership with the University of Oxford.
It is one of five centres funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) aimed at driving research from laboratory bench to bedside for the benefit of patients and the economy.
Among those who attended was Horton-cum-Studley’s Ann Stearns who said: “Juliet was absolutely superb. She spoke very clearly, she held my attention, she made it interesting and, at my age, very reassuring.
“It is breathtaking, absolutely tremendous. I’m proud to have seen it.”
Prof Robin Choudhury, AVIC Clinical Director and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, who gave a talk to visitors, said: “We were gratified by the attendance of the public and appreciate the participants interest in our unit.
“Since opening in January 2011 we have imaged in excess of 1,700 patients. We remain deeply grateful to the commitment of local patients and their families in furthering our research efforts.”
Mrs Semple said: “It is a pleasure to showcase AVIC to the public and the informed and varied questions always keep me on my toes.”