December 10, 2015

Safer, faster heart scans in view

(December 10, 2015)  A team of Oxford University researchers has developed a technique that could improve heart scans for patients, giving more information about the heart than traditional scans and without any injections, making them safer and faster.

The group of medical, physics and engineering researchers are based at the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research (OCMR). They are using a property of hydrogen atoms to create a pixel-by-pixel map of the heart, called a T1-map, which allows examination of healthy and diseased heart tissue in greater detail than before.

Currently, stress scans of the heart using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) require patients to be injected with two substances. Adenosine is a medication injected into the patient that causes effects similar to exercise during the scan. Gadolinium - a rare earth heavy metal - is injected as a contrast agent to highlight areas of the heart suffering from decreased blood flow under exercise conditions.

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