Scheme: Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship
Organisation: University College London
Dates: Oct 2014-May 2021
Summary: Congenital heart disease (CHD) affects 9 in every 1000 babies born in the UK, and is estimated to cost the country £1.8 billion every year. Modern management of CHD means that many of these patients have an almost normal lifespan and one key advance in diagnosis and monitoring is the use of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR). The main drawbacks of CMR are that it is time consuming (approximately 1 hour to perform a complete exam) and requires patients to hold their breath many times during the scans. This is possible in adults, but can be very challenging in children. Hence it is necessary to put children under the age of 8 to sleep (general anesthesia) in order to perform CMR on them, which is both very expensive and carries some risk. The purpose of my fellowship is to develop new technologies that will allow CMR to be performed quickly (within 20 minutes) and with no breath-holds. This will mean that it should be possible to dispense with general anesthesia, making CMR safer and much more available.
My aspiration is that by the end of this fellowship all children with CHD will be able to have routine CMR examinations quickly, safely and comfortably. This should make CMR a much less daunting prospect and allows this valuable and sophisticated method of assessing the heart to be used in more children. Additionally, these technologies will increase the number of patients that can be examined each day, ultimately reducing waiting lists.