Scientists image bleeding hearts for first time

January 19th, 2009 - 3:59 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 19 (IANS) A new scan has helped scientists image bleeding within the heart for the first time after a cardiac attack. The research shows that the amount of bleeding can indicate how damaged a person’s heart is after the event.

Researchers from the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College London, hope that this kind of imaging used with other tests will create a fuller picture of a patient’s condition and their chances of recovery.

People suffer heart attacks when an artery that feeds blood to the heart becomes blocked, depriving the heart muscle of oxygen. Currently, most people treated for a heart attack are fitted with a metal tube called a stent to keep the blocked artery clear.

Recent research has shown that some people experience bleeding inside the heart muscle once blood starts to pump into it again. However, the significance of this bleeding is currently not understood.

For the study, researchers captured images of bleeding inside the heart in 15 patients from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust who had recently suffered a heart attack, using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Analysis of the MRI scans revealed that the amount of bleeding correlated with how much damage the heart muscle had sustained.

Patients who had suffered a large heart attack, where a lot of the heart muscle was damaged, had a lot of bleeding into the heart muscle compared with those whose heart attack was relatively small.

The researchers were able to detect the area of bleeding because of the magnetic effects of iron, which is present in the blood, said an Imperial College release.

The study was published on Monday in Radiology.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |