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article imageNew imaging method can predict heart attack risk

By Tim Sandle     Nov 12, 2013 in Health
Scientists have created a new imaging technique that could identify which patients are at high risk, according to a study published in the The Lancet.
The newly developed test uses positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) to "light up" dangerous fatty plaques in the arteries that are in danger of rupturing. These areas of fatty deposits can cause heart attacks, the Daily Record notes.
To test out the new method, Medical News Today reports, the researchers analyzed 80 patients. Of these, 40 patients recently had a heart attack, while the other 40 patients had angina - restricted blood supply to the heart posing a higher risk of heart attack. Using the PET-CT scanner, the researchers found that 90% of patients who had a heart attack showed a "lit up" yellow area in one of their blood vessels. This area corresponded exactly to the location of the plaque that caused the patients' heart attacks.
The scanner, developed at the University of Edinburgh, also showed lit up plaques in around 40% of the patients with angina. Furthermore, the researchers found "high-risk" features in these patients that suggested a heart attack may be imminent, meaning they were in need of aggressive drug treatment or surgery.
The next stage of this research is likely to confirm the findings and to determine whether the PET-CT imaging technique can improve the management and treatment of patients with coronary artery disease.
More about Heart attack, medical imaging, Heart, Scanner
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