MRI scans to gauge heart attack riskJanuary 11th, 2009 - 2:10 pm ICT by ANI
London, Jan 11 (ANI): MRI scans may soon be able to gauge the risk of heart attack, according to researchers.
The main reason behind heart attacks is plaques made of immune cells and cholesterol that build up inside the coronary arteries, which feed the heart.
If a plaque ruptures, a clot can form, blocking blood flow with potentially catastrophic results.
Cameras can be sent into arteries to check the walls for plaques, but the probe itself could trigger cardiac arrest by rupturing a plaque.
An MRI scan can see inside the body without risk, but doesn”t offer enough resolution to image artery walls directly.
However, Simon Robinson of Lantheus Medical Imaging in North Billerica, Massachusetts, and his colleagues found a way around this using gadolinium chelate, a substance that is already used to light up blood in MRI scans.
The researchers attached this contrast agent to a molecule that binds to the protein elastin, which is found in artery walls.
When injected into the bloodstream of pigs, the resulting molecule binds to elastin throughout the thickness of the artery walls and lights them up in an MRI scan.
The plan is to image the arteries of people thought to be at risk of heart attack and check for a dangerous amount of thickening that would suggest the presence of plaques.
“If you”ve got a plaque developing, you”ll see a brighter, thicker region,” New Scientist quoted Robinson, as saying.
Patients with plaques could be given cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins, blood thinners that prevent a clot from forming if a plaque ruptures, or fitted with a stent to support artery walls and lower the risk that a plaque will burst.
The gadolinium chelate eventually detaches from the artery walls and is cleared by the kidneys.
Lantheus is conducting safety trials of the contrast agent and hopes to begin tests in humans early in 2010.
One possible obstacle is that some gadolinium-based contrast agents have previously been linked to kidney problems. (ANI)
- Statin can prevent strokes, besides lowering lipids - Jan 05, 2012
- Scientists stumble upon electrical property of arteries - Jan 31, 2012
- Vaccines for heart attacks to be ready within 5 years - Apr 01, 2012
- People with sleep apnea 'more likely to develop aggressive heart disease' - Dec 01, 2010
- Compound in apple, onion can beat blood clots: Study - May 09, 2012
- Two apples a day keep heart diseases away - Jul 26, 2012
- Fat around heart promotes cardiac disease - Aug 16, 2011
- Cholesterol levels in young adults predict future heart disease risk - Aug 03, 2010
- Intake of egg yolks can block arteries: Study - Aug 14, 2012
- Eating Egg Yolks is as 'bad as Smoking' - Aug 15, 2012
- Iron in coronary artery plaque 'a marker of heart attack risk' - Nov 16, 2010
- Ill-effect of high-fat meal linked to belly fat - Feb 18, 2011
- Presence of iron in artery predicts cardiac risk - Nov 16, 2010
- A heart pill that halves risk of death - Nov 15, 2010
- Clogged arteries can also cause clouded thinking - Jul 22, 2011
Tags: artery walls, blood thinners, cardiac arrest, catastrophic results, cholesterol lowering drugs, contrast agent, contrast agents, coronary arteries, elastin, gadolinium, heart attack risk, heart attacks, immune cells, london jan, mri scan, new scientist, north billerica massachusetts, risk of heart attack, safety trials, simon robinson