Nearly every image that is shown of a heart shows the vital organ from the front – but have you ever thought about what goes on at the rear of a heart?

Cardiac consultants frequently need to know and when an echocardiogram machine gives a frontal image it usually means the rib cage has obstructed some of the view.

At Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust a new £85,000 high resolution Echo machine has been purchased with cardiology department funds and a St. Peter’s Hospital League of Friends donation.

Next Tuesday (29-06-10) the cardiology department and the British Heart Foundation, together with representatives of local heart patient support groups, will gather together at St. Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, for the launch of a £16,000 fundraising appeal. The aim is to purchase a Trans Oesophageal Echocardiogram probe (TOE probe) for use on the new machine.

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.

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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