Appeal launched for special equipment used for seeing the rear view of a patient’s heart.

Members of the North Surrey branch of the British Heart Foundation and the Staines branch of the BHF met at the cardiology department of St. Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, this week (29-06-10) for the launch of a £16,000 fundraising appeal. The aim is to purchase a Trans Oesophageal Echocardiogram probe (TOE probe) for use in conjunction with a new £85,000 high resolution Echo machine that has been purchased with cardiology department funds and a St. Peter’s Hospital League of Friends donation.

Nearly every image that is shown of a heart shows the vital organ from the front – but Cardiac consultants frequently need to know what goes on at the back of a heart and when an echocardiogram machine gives a frontal image it usually means the rib cage has obstructed some of the view.

Said Consultant Cardiologist Dr Ian Beeton: “Some structures at the rear of the heart are better seen from the back as the rib cage doesn’t get in the way, and there are no other structures to get in the way. Only certain conditions present a need for this diagnostic tool and this new probe would be compatible with both our older Echo machines and our new high-resolution model.

“Providing this vital heart-screening equipment for Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust will enable this machine to compliment the Trust’s expanding cardiology services, for the benefit of all our patients who come from a wide area even beyond the immediate boroughs of Runnymede, Spelthorne, Woking and Elmbridge.”

The department carries out approximately 5,000 conventional echocardiographs a year and several Trans Oesophageal Echocardiograms each week using an earlier version of the probe to pass down the Oesophagus (gullet). There are now five full-time consultant cardiologists, one part-time and one visiting consultant cardiologist at Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust.

Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals Trust Chairman Aileen McLeish welcomed the visitors to the hospital and told them that cardiology was a very important and growing activity at the Trust. The Trust and the British Heart Foundation value the very important support that they give to each other, she added.

At the gathering Staines BHF fundraising branch Chairman Mrs June Ross was presented with a BHF Long Service Award for 25 years of dedicated fundraising by Heather Hunt Fundraising Volunteer Manager for the BHF in Surrey. Mrs Ross told the gathering that she has a Mitral Valve repair at Harefield Hospital over 50 years ago.

She said: “I was in there for 10-12 weeks. I am thankful for all the care I have received and had lots of care under Dr Peter Wilkinson at Ashford Hospital and also have had fantastic care at St. Peter’s Hospital. When I think about what I had done originally, and was then able to bring up four children, I am very grateful.”

Heather Hunt Fundraising Volunteer Manager for the BHF in Surrey is encouraging locals to back the appeal and try to raise the money for this vital piece of equipment as quickly as possible.

She said: “The BHF are delighted to be working with Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust to raise money and fund this vital piece of equipment. We are looking for people across the county to come forward and volunteer their time to fundraise or spread the word about the appeal. If you have a few hours to spare or would like to make a donation then please get in touch, let’s raise the money fast and help save lives locally.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the appeal can contact BHF Fundraising volunteer manager Heather Hunt on: 01372 388430 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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