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PCT to offer private CVD tests alongside vascular checks

By Lilian Anekwe

A private company has signed a deal with a PCT to provide tests for cardiovascular disease not available on the NHS alongside the trust's conventional vascular checks programme.

UniMedic, a private provider of cardiovascular screening, says it will pilot use of its tests for arterial stiffness in NHS Ealing, and is hopeful of striking deals with another five to 10 trusts across the country.

Delegates at the Preventive Health 09 conference in London last week heard the Arteriograph test, which measures parameters including central and peripheral blood pressure and aortic pulse wave velocity, ‘is able to measure arterial stiffness and central blood pressure and detect cardiovascular disease even in a reversible, apparently healthy stage'.

Dr Tamás Hodosi, medical director of UniMedic, told Pulse: ‘We can provide a very effective means of screening and are using this test in this pilot at first, with a view to wider rollout across the national programme.'

Dr Cyprian Okoro, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Ealing and honorary senior lecturer in primary care and social medicine at Imperial College London, told Pulse: ‘NHS Ealing has agreed to investigate the feasibility of using the Arteriograph machine in three research practices. The pilot will run alongside our existing vascular checks programme, for about 10 weeks.'

Dr Bill Beeby, a GP in Middlesbrough and chair of the GPC's clinical and prescribing subcommittee, said: ‘I can't see the logic of this, especially with tests for which there is little evidence.'

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