Finding and treating vulnerable plaque early could prevent heart attack and death
Virtual histology. Thermography. Palpography. Computed tomography. Today, during the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) 29th Annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago, Dr. Gregg W. Stone will explore these and other promising imaging techniques in a featured Hildner Lecture entitled, "Prospects for the Invasive and Non-Invasive Identification of Vulnerable Plaque."
"Approximately every 34 seconds, someone in the United States dies of cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Stone, a professor of medicine at Columbia University, director of cardiovascular research and education at the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy, and vice-chairman of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, all in New York City. "Most people who have a heart attack have no warning whatsoever."
Fragile, thin-capped coronary plaques cause most heart attacks. When they burst, a blood clot blocks the artery and cuts off blood flow to the heart. Many patients have never had a minute’s chest pain before the heart attack strikes. What’s worse, vulnerable plaques cannot be detected with conventional imaging techniques, such as angiography.
"If we can see the vulnerable plaque, we can treat it--before it ruptures and causes a heart attack and death," said Dr. Stone, who is also a Trustee of SCAI.
Researchers are testing and refining an array of innovative techniques for detecting vulnerable plaque. Among noninvasive methods, multislice computed tomography is generating the greatest excitement today. Easy to use and available in every major medical center, high-end CT scanners create colorful and detailed pictures of the coronary arteries.
Invasive techniques are more complicated and time-consuming to use--they require threading a catheter into the arteries of the heart--but they have the potential to provide a wealth of anatomic and functional information. For example, virtual histology uses intravascular ultrasound to re-create a picture of the plaque, whereas optical computed tomography uses light to define its structure. Thermography relies on differences in temperature to identify inflamed, vulnerable plaque, while spectroscopy defines its chemical composition, and palpography measures stress on the plaque’s thin, fragile cap.
Studies are under way to determine which, if any, of these techniques can best detect and characterize vulnerable plaque. If the studies are positive, plaque imaging could help tens of millions of people with undiagnosed coronary artery disease.
"These techniques could have major societal implications," Dr. Stone said. "Everyone who is prone to cardiovascular disease--virtually all middle-aged and elderly men and postmenopausal women--could benefit from early detection and treatment."
Kathy Boyd David | EurekAlert!
Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate
21.02.2017 | Radiological Society of North America
Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery
17.02.2017 | Children's National Health System
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
22.02.2017 | Life Sciences
22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy