Nurses looking at PC

Cardiac research


Research and innovation in cardiology

Imperial College Healthcare Private Care has a worldwide reputation for excellent cardiac services, thanks to the Trust’s strong academic partnership with Imperial College London. 

With us, you will benefit from cutting-edge care and technologies, made possible by the continuous research by our surgeons and specialists. Many cardiology inventions and innovations developed elsewhere in the healthcare industry are brought to our team for testing and implementation. 

We were the first to use robotic technology on ablations, we have pioneered electrocardiogram techniques over the past 130 years, and we were the first centre in the UK to perform two core procedures for patients with valve issues: TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation) and Mitraclip valve-repair therapy. 

These are just a few of the techniques and approaches where the Trust has broken new ground. 

Leaders in electrophysiology 

St Mary’s Hospital is a pioneering centre for electrophysiology. Here, in 1887, Augustus Waller recorded the first human electrocardiogram (ECG). 

In 1991, Dr Wyn Davies brought electrophysiology to the UK when he established a department of cardiac electrophysiology at St Mary’s Hospital and introduced non-contact mapping of cardiac arrhythmias in humans. By the mid-2000s, most of the electrophysiologists in the UK had been trained at the unit by Dr Davies and his team. 

Cardioinsight multi-electrode ECG vest 

Heart rhythm disturbances can be difficult to diagnose. At Imperial College Healthcare Private Care, we are able to monitor you using the innovative Cardioinsight multi-electrode electrocardiogram (ECG) vest. 

Our patients with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) were the first in the world to benefit from this technology. It uses 252 electrodes – significantly more than a typical ECG, which uses just ten – to build an accurate 3D image of your heart that allows us to quickly and precisely locate and correct sources of irregular or extra heartbeats (ventricular ectopy). 

A key benefit is that our vest allows you to be mobile in order to trigger the irregular heartbeat. Other processes would require you to lie still for significant periods while waiting for the irregular heartbeat to occur and be captured. 

Coronary measurements 

We have developed technology around fractional flow reserves, which guide angioplasty, for patients who have a narrowing in their arteries. This technique measures blockages accurately to ensure we follow the safest and least invasive treatment plan for you. This could mean carrying out a single vessel angioplasty (a widening of the arteries using a balloon passed into the narrow arteries) rather than a triple bypass surgery. 

Additionally, Dr Justin Davies has developed a coronary wave intensity technique called iFR (instantaneous wave-free ratio). Using a pressure wire, iFR gently assesses the interaction between the coronary microcirculation and the aorta in the supply of blood to the heart, and records five beats. It is a gentle treatment – you won’t even know the measurements are being taken.

Angioplasty expertise 

The Trust was a pioneer in the UK of primary angioplasty – the widening of narrowed or obstructed arteries – and continues to work at the cutting edge of intervention. We have significant experience in complex coronary imaging and angioplasty techniques, including treatment of the left main stem, complex bifurcation disease and chronic total occlusions (a complete blockage of a coronary artery).