Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


PET imaging detects early, 'silent heart' stage of disease in asymptomatic diabetic patients

Early identification of structural and functional alterations in the circulatory system may hold key to preventing fatal heart attacks, according to researchers at SNM's 55th Annual Meeting, June 14–18

As many as 50 percent of all cardiac deaths due to disease in the heart's vessels occur in individuals with no prior history or symptoms of heart disease. In addition, standard coronary risk factors may fail to explain up to 50 percent of cardiovascular events. Now, researchers using positron emission tomography (PET) are able to see changes in coronary blood vessels, offering hope that those at risk can receive earlier treatment and prolong life.

"Assessment of standard coronary risk factors such as arterial hypertension, smoking, hypercholesterolemia or diabetes appears to be limited in defining an individual's future cardiac risk," said Thomas Schindler, M.D., chief of nuclear cardiology at the University Hospitals of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Early stages of atherosclerosis (a disease affecting arterial blood vessels) can be detected by different cardiovascular imaging techniques, he explained. For example, intravascular ultrasound may identify abnormal thickening of the subintimal space (below the inner layer of blood vessels) of the carotid artery as an early sign of developing arterial disease, electron-beam or multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) may identify calcification of the heart vessels and PET may detect functional abnormalities of the coronary arteries by unmasking mild reductions in the blood flow supply to the heart during stress testing.

Notably, the identification of abnormal thickening of the arterial wall of the carotid with intravascular ultrasound, coronary artery calcifications with MDCT and functional abnormalities of the coronary circulation with PET have all been shown to identify the initiation and development of atherosclerotic disease of the heart vessels and future cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death, heart failure or the need for revascularization procedures (restoring the circulatory structures) for the heart.

"These measures to detect clinically silent heart vessel disease may be more useful in defining the future cardiac risk in individuals than conventional coronary risk factor assessment and could thereby better reinforce the preventive therapy for improving the long-term cardiovascular outcome," said Dr. Schindler.

The difficulty is, he added, that it is not known which of these markers of subclinical heart vessel disease is first to manifest.

In a study of 68 asymptomatic individuals with type 2 diabetes (or adult onset diabetes), researchers were able to determine the concurrent prevalence of the thickening in arterials walls (carotid-intima media thickness, IMT), coronary artery calcification (CAC) and functional abnormalities of the coronary circulation (coronary vascular dysfunction). In these patients—all of whom had coronary vascular dysfunction as determined by PET scans—a 56 percent increase in the prevalence of abnormal carotid IMT was found, while 66 percent also had evidence of CAC.

The results showed that when PET revealed coronary vascular dysfunction as a functional precursor of coronary artery disease, these findings were not necessarily accompanied by abnormal increases in the carotid IMT or CAC, leading researchers to believe that the dysfunction may precede structural alterations of the arterial wall.

"PET assessment of functional abnormalities of the coronary circulation, therefore, may allow the earliest identification of developing heart vessel disease. This could lead to an optimized identification of the very early stage of the development of coronary artery disease, allowing physicians to initiate and/or reinforce preventive medical therapy strategies in order to improve the long-term cardiovascular outcome in these individuals at risk for heart disease," said Dr. Schindler.

Amy Shaw | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Gentle sensors for diagnosing brain disorders
29.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

nachricht New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development
28.09.2016 | Lund 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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

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...

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

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>