Background: The indications, complexity and capabilities of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) have rapidly expanded. Whether actual service provision and training have developed in parallel is unknown.
Methods: We undertook a systematic telephone and postal survey of all public hospitals on behalf of the British Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance to identify all CMR providers within the United Kingdom.
Results: Of the 60 CMR centres identified, 88% responded to a detailed questionnaire. Services are led by cardiologists and radiologists in equal proportion, though the majority of current trainees are cardiologists. The mean number of CMR scans performed annually per centre increased by 44% over two years. This trend was consistent across centres of different scanning volumes. The commonest indication for CMR was assessment of heart failure and cardiomyopathy (39%), followed by coronary artery disease and congenital heart disease. There was striking geographical variation in CMR availability, numbers of scans performed, and distribution of trainees. Centres without on site scanning capability refer very few patients for CMR. Just over half of centres had a formal training programme, and few performed regular audit.
Conclusion: The number of CMR scans performed in the UK has increased dramatically in just two years. Trainees are mainly located in large volume centres and enrolled in cardiology as opposed to radiology training programmes.