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BHF visitors see how research is making a difference to patient care

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is the largest UK heart charity, raising money to help people living with cardiovascular disease and funding pioneering research.  

In 2011, Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, consultant cardiologist at Royal Brompton Hospital, was awarded a prestigious BHF Intermediate Research Fellowship, helping her research which includes the development and application of magnetic resonance imaging techniques to improve the lives of adults with congenital heart disease.

BHF donors visit researchers

In June 2014, some of BHF’s major donors and their fundraising team visited Sonya to hear about her progress with the research and how it is making a difference to patient care. Dr Babu-Narayan said: "It’s important to meet the people involved in raising research funds and those who generously donate to show them how their money is being used to improve patient care. BHF funding allows me dedicated time for translational research.”

Sonya explained how her research in cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging, undertaken in the NIHR cardiovascular biomedical research unit at RB&HFT is aiding improvements in locating heart scarring responsible for causing life-threatening arrhythmias – a particular problem in congenital heart disease patients who have a complex heart anatomy. Sonya’s research is utilising new, detailed and unique 3D maps of each patient’s heart, highlighting areas of scarring. 

These maps are helping cardiologists better target treatments for  arrhythmias.  Dr Sabine Ernst, Trust lead for electrophysiology research said: “By integrating our electrical map of the patient’s heart with Sonya’s 3D imaging, I am able to pinpoint the part of the heart where electrical misfiring is occurring. This allows me to guide the catheter efficiently and safely to this location and deliver treatment to stop the arrhythmia. This research has made a huge difference to the time it takes to carry out this procedure, reducing the time some patients spend in the lab from 10 hours to two hours.”  

Everyone enjoyed the visit and BHF major donors said:

 “Thank you for a fascinating and inspiring tour of your research unit at Royal Brompton Hospital this week. As an artist I found the 3D imaging and technology especially interesting and it was a privilege to have this intimate and well-presented glimpse into the future of medicine.” 

“Excellent event, based on the three BHF research lab tours that I have now attended this was by far the best; it was certainly the most engaging talk and presentation.”

June 2014

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