Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


MRI detects early heart damage in patients with sarcoidosis

To detect heart damage early in patients with the immune system disorder sarcoidosis, who are at elevated risk of dieing from heart problems, magnetic resonance imaging is twice as sensitive as conventional methods, according to a study by Duke University Medical Center cardiologists.

By using magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to discover minute areas of heart damage before they grow larger, physicians may be able to take action to prevent sudden cardiac death, which is a leading cause of death in patients with sarcoidosis, the researchers said.

Sarcoidosis is characterized by the formation of tiny inflammatory growths called granulomas. Although granulomas tend to cluster in the lungs, in lymph nodes and under the skin, they also can form in the heart. When they do, it currently is difficult to determine which patients will develop heart damage, the researchers said.

"We found that MRI was sensitive in detecting small areas of damage in the hearts of patients with sarcoidosis, and we were further able to correlate these areas of damage with future adverse outcomes," said Duke cardiologist Manesh Patel, M.D., who presented the results of the study on Sunday, Nov. 12, at the annual scientific sessions of the American Heart Association, in Chicago. "The MRI technology is very good at obtaining high-resolution images of heart muscle and distinguishing normally functioning heart cells from those that are damaged or destroyed."

The study was supported by the Duke Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Center.

According to Patel, conventional methods identify cardiac damage in only 5 percent to 7 percent of sarcoidosis patients. The standard evaluation includes an electrocardiogram, which is an electrical test of the heart, coupled with one of a number of different cardiac imaging techniques.

But previous studies in which autopsies were performed on sarcoidosis patients indicate that up to 30 percent of such patients exhibit evidence of heart damage, he said.

"For this reason, we hypothesized that cardiac damage in sarcoidosis patients is more common and is often unrecognized, explaining why it could be a major cause of death in these patients," Patel said.

For their analysis, the Duke researchers identified 81 sarcoidosis patients consecutively referred for evaluation at Duke. All of the patients received a standard clinical evaluation including an electrocardiogram and on average 1.6 non-cardiac MRI imaging tests, and a cardiac MRI scan. The conventional method identified 10 patients (12.3 percent) with heart damage, while the cardiac MRI identified 21 patients (26 percent) with areas of heart damage, Patel said.

The damage observed often did not fit the pattern of damage caused by coronary artery disease, Patel said, a finding which suggested that the sarcoidosis was the cause of the damage.

The patients in the study were followed by their treating physicians for an average of 13 months, and Patel's team examined their records to see if they had died or had experienced medical problems related to the heart's electrical system.

According to Patel, it is commonly thought that when sarcoidosis damages a portion of heart muscle, the damaged areas can block or reroute the electrical impulses that keep the heart beating. Sudden cardiac death can occur when the heart's internal electrical system is disrupted, causing the heart to beat erratically and, in some cases, to stop.

By the end of the follow-up period, five patients had died from cardiac causes, two had experienced heart-beat abnormalities requiring treatment to bring the heart back into normal rhythm and one needed a pacemaker implanted to maintain normal heart rhythm, Patel said.

The imaging technique that the team used is called delayed enhancement cardiac MRI. In this approach, the researchers inject trace amounts of the element gandolinium into patients before administering the MRI scan.

"Gandolinium is an inert metal, and it cannot enter normally functioning heart muscle cells," Patel said. "However, if small areas of heart muscle are damaged, there are areas that absorb the gandolinium like a sponge. The MRI then detects where the gandolinium accumulates and shows us where the damage is located."

Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>