A MAJOR investment in new equipment will mean heart patients from north Essex will no longer have to travel miles for a diagnostic service.

A £250,000 investment has been made in ultrasound equipment at Colchester General Hospital which means cardiologists can take 3D images of the heart for the first time.

The procedure has been made possible by a £20,000 3D probe which is passed through the mouth into the gullet.

Previously, patients from the Colchester and Tendring areas who needed this diagnostic procedure had to travel to the Essex cardiothoracic centre at Basildon Hospital.

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Allan Harkness said: “The ability to take a 3D picture of the heart from the gullet is a dramatic improvement.

“It allows the cardiologist to create an image of the heart moving in real time that looks similar to the view the surgeon has when operating.

“Such views make assessing heart problems much easier and conveying difficult problems more reliable than before."