3D Scans Spot Signs of Heart Disease

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Research conducted by scientists from the MRC's Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College London suggests that it might be possible to recognise early signs of heart disease by examining detailed images of the heart. The research is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 

People with high blood pressure develop changes in their hearts before symptoms even appear. Such changes put them at risk of dying early. By using specialised MRI scans, the researchers created a 3D map of the hearts of 1500 people. They used computer technology to explore the heart and establish changes to its shape and function due to increasing blood pressure. Even a small increase in blood pressure results in a thickening of the heart muscle. 

Lead author for the study, Dr Declan O’Regan says, “New 3D imaging technology lets researchers look at the living heart in amazing detail. The risk of high blood pressure is well known, but these scans show the earliest signs of damage to the heart may begin in completely healthy people. This suggests that any increase in our blood pressure may put greater strain on the heart.”

Dr. Antonio de Marvao, first author of the study explains that this research can enable doctors to recognise signs of disease much earlier than previously possible. 
The researches suggest that the next step should be to look at genetic differences between people who develop changes in their heart that could lead to the development of heart disease and people who do not develop such changes. 
Image Credit: Journal of the American College of Cardiology

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Published on : Sat, 24 Oct 2015

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