Tens of thousands of patients risk deadly heart conditions being missed because they are not being sent for the right scans, doctors have warned.
At least 56,000 people suffering with angina were denied potentially life-saving scans in the past year alone.
Experts warn a shortage of scanners and radiologists means that patients are being given exercise tests rather than a heart scan called a computed tomography coronary angiography, or CTCA.
A heart scan called a computed tomography coronary angiography (pictured on the screen) is not being given to enough patients, experts say. This is reportedly down to a shortage of scanners and radiologists
Cardiac experts say the tests cannot rule out underlying causes of angina – chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscles – such as the plaque that causes fatal heart attacks.
Analysis by the Royal College of Radiologists and the British Society of Cardiovascular Imaging found 132,080 patients required CTCA tests last year, but they were offered to just 75,000.
Heart and circulatory diseases cause more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK – more than 150,000 each year.
Dr Giles Roditi, of the BSCI, said: ‘In many hospitals it is easier for a runner with a dodgy knee to get a magnetic resonance scan than it is for a patient on the verge of a heart attack to get a CTCA.’