Edinburgh researchers develop technique which could give early warning of heart attack.

New scans will predict heart attacks before they happen, hope doctors

The left coronary artery is shown at the top of the image
The left coronary artery is shown at the top of the image
Published on Tuesday 24 April 2012 02:51

A NEW technique which could help predict heart attacks before they happen has been pioneered by Scottish doctors.

The method developed by medics at Edinburgh University combines the use of CT scans and special X-ray images to pick up dangerous levels of the calcium that blocks arteries.

Tests on more than 100 patients found the state-of-the-art pictures successfully identified those most at risk of cardiovascular disease.

It is the first time the processes that cause heart attacks have been captured directly in the coronary arteries.

Dr Marc Dweck, of Edinburgh University’s Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, said: “If we can identify patients at high risk of a heart attack earlier, we can then use intensive drug treatments and perhaps procedures such as stents to reduce the chances of them having a heart attack.”

There are nearly 2.7 million people living with coronary heart disease in the UK, and it kills 88,000 people each year.

Dr Dweck said: “The first presentation of cardiovascular disease is often a heart attack or sudden death.

“If we can get to these people before this happens, it is easy to see how we could save a great number of lives.”

 

Read the rest of this article here: Early warning of Heart attack

Read the clinical paper here: CLINICAL RESEARCH: CARDIAC IMAGING