CMR Unit History

The Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) Unit of the Royal Brompton Hospital was established in 1984. It dedicates its research to the cardiovascular system and runs one of the largest cardiovascular clinical services in the world. Research ranges from basic physics to clinical application and involves a dedicated inter-disciplinary team o Unit’s early success was a result of the foresight and energy of Professor Donald Longmore who originally set it up with a small team, which included Dr. David Firmin.

The many pioneering advances include: some of the earliest cardiac gated images, the accurate measurement of cardiac function, the accurate measurement of blood flow, early coronary artery imaging and coronary flow measurement, the development of rapid and interactive cardiovascular imaging, characterisation of atherosclerosis, and the measurement of myocardial perfusion. The Unit remains in the forefront of research, working within the global academic environment.

Under its current directorship of Professor Dudley Pennell the Unit is continuing in the development of CMR, with particular emphasis on clinical applications.

Our previous mobile scanner, the first mobile cardiac mri in the world, which was designed and constructed by the group at the Unit to facilitate research into the early detection of vascular disease in asymptomatic subjects is on display at the Science Museum Large Objects Store,Swindon.

The CMR Unit has a unique mix of staff from medical and scientific backgrounds all with specialist expertise in imaging, It is particularly well sited with excellent access to large numbers of patients with all forms of cardiovascular disease. It also collaborates with active programmes of clinical work and research, using techniques such as echocardiography, invasive angiography, nuclear cardiology and electron-beam computed tomography, all of which makes Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS FoundationTrust an ideal site to assess the comparative and incremental value of magnetic resonance in cardiovascular medicine.