Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New imaging technology reveals prevalence of 'silent' heart attacks

22.04.2009
So-called "silent" heart attacks may be much more common than previously believed, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Studies show that each year, nearly 200,000 people in the U.S suffer a heart attack but may not realize it. These "silent" heart attacks aren't noted because they don't cause any pain – or at least any pain that patients believe is related to their heart – and they don't leave behind any telltale irregularities on electrocardiograms (ECGs).

New imaging research from Duke University Medical Center appearing in PLoS Medicine suggests that these heart attacks (now called unrecognized myocardial infarctions, or UMIs) may be happening much more frequently than physicians had suspected. Duke investigators also found that these attacks were associated with a surprisingly high risk of untimely death.

"No one has fully understood how often these heart attacks occur and what they mean, in terms of prognosis," says Han Kim, M.D., a cardiologist at Duke and the lead author of the study. "With this study, we can now say that this subset of heart attacks, known as non-Q wave UMIs, is fairly common, at least among people with suspected coronary artery disease."

Physicians can usually tell when a heart attack has recently occurred by signature changes on ECGs and in certain blood enzyme levels. But if a heart attack happened in the distant past, physicians rely on the appearance of a specific alteration on an ECG called a Q-wave, which signals the presence of damaged tissue.

"The problem is, not all UMIs result in Q-waves on the electrocardiogram. Those that don't are called non-Q-wave myocardial infarctions. Those are the ones we haven't been able to count because we've never had a good way to document them," says Kim.

Kim believed that using delayed enhancement cardiovascular magnetic resonance, or DE-CMR, might be good way to get an idea about how frequently non-Q-wave myocardial infarctions occur. Previous studies had shown that DE-CMR was particularly adept in discerning damaged tissue from healthy tissue.

Researchers used DE-CMR to examine185 patients suspected of having coronary artery disease but who had no record of any heart attacks. All of them were scheduled to undergo angiography to find out if excess plaque had narrowed or blocked any of their arteries. Investigators followed the patients for two years to see if the presence of any unrecognized non-Q-wave heart attacks were associated with a higher risk of death.

They found that 35 percent of the patients had evidence of a heart attack and that non-Q-wave attacks were three times more common than Q-wave UMIs. Non-Q-wave attacks were also more common among those with more severe coronary artery disease. In addition, researchers discovered that those who suffered non-Q-wave UMIs had an 11-fold higher risk of death from any cause and a 17-fold higher risk of death due to heart problems, when compared to patients who did not have any heart damage.

"Right now, there are no specific guidelines about how patients with UMIs should be treated," says Kim. "If patients with UMIs happen to be identified, they are usually treated similarly to those patients where heart disease has already been documented. Future studies will likely examine how common unrecognized non-Q-wave heart attacks are in other patient groups and how these UMIs should be treated."

The National Institutes of Health supported the study.

Duke researchers who contributed to the study include Igor Klem, Dipan Shah, Michele Parker, Anna Lisa Crowley, Robert Judd and senior author Raymond J. Kim. Additional co-authors include Edwin Wu, Sheridan Meyers and Robert Bonow, from the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute at Northwestern University.

Drs. Judd and Raymond Kim are named on a U.S. patent for DE-CMR technology, which is owned by Northwestern University. Raymond Kim and Han Kim are not related.

Michelle Gailiun | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized
23.05.2017 | Waseda University

nachricht Computer accurately identifies and delineates breast cancers on digital tissue slides
11.05.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>