Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Very early signs of atherosclerosis and heart failure seen together on MRI

22.06.2006
Findings challenge standard views of how the diseases are linked

Middle-age and older people who feel healthy, but who have early signs of atherosclerosis, are more likely to exhibit subtle changes in heart function, detectable through a special MRI technique, which may signal the beginning of heart failure, according to a new study in the June 20, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"The novelty of this study is that we were taught that the way atherosclerosis causes myocardial dysfunction is by causing heart attacks or chest pain or other clinical manifestations of disease. Here we have evidence that subclinical atherosclerosis, atherosclerosis that has not manifested clinically, is influencing left ventricular function, regional myocardial function, before any clinical outcome is detected. This is a paradigm shift in the way we understand how myocardial dysfunction is produced. And that speaks to the importance of the report," said João A. C. Lima, M.D., F.A.C.C. from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Researchers at six field centers*, including first author Verônica R. S. Fernandes, M.D., studied 500 consecutive MRI studies of participants (209 women and 291 men) in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). The MESA trial is a prospective population-based observational cohort study of men and women from four different ethnic groups (Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, and Chinese), ages 45 to 85 years old, who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease at enrollment.

Using a relatively new and extremely sensitive technique known as MRI tagging, the researchers were able to detect subtle changes in the movement of the walls of the left ventricles, the main pumping chambers, of the hearts of participants. They compared the results of the MRI heart wall motion studies with ultrasound measurements of the carotid arteries of the participants. Specifically, the researchers measured the intima-media thickness of the carotid artery. Increased thickness is known to be an early sign of atherosclerosis.

Even though the participants did not have any symptoms of cardiovascular disease, increased intima-media thickness was related to reduced heart pumping function.

"Previous studies have looked at the relationship of atherosclerosis and heart failure. We are showing, in a population of people who have never had symptoms, an association between atherosclerosis and fine changes in the heart contraction," Dr. Lima said. "These results, which were quite unexpected actually, suggest that we should perhaps implement preventive strategies more vigorously and earlier than we thought."

Possible interventions could include treatment to lower cholesterol levels or using ultrasound to watch for progression of atherosclerosis.

Dr. Lima pointed out that this study could show only that signs of atherosclerosis and reduced heart function tend to go together. Further study will be needed to see if the results can predict the future health of the participants.

"That's what we are doing now. We are following this population to see if this really relates to people developing heart failure," Dr. Lima said.

This study was not designed to explain the observed association, but the researchers say other work suggests some leading possibilities. Early atherosclerosis in major blood vessels could be producing blood flow problems and thus causing heart muscle damage, even though the participants don't feel symptoms. Blood vessel problems could be interfering with blood flow in the tiny vessels in the heart muscle.

It is also possible that the early atherosclerosis and heart function abnormalities are both connected to some underlying issue that was not identified in this study.

Tasneem Z. Naqvi, M.D., from the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California, who was not connected with this study, said that a "strength of the study is the strong methodology, using recent and more robust techniques for the evaluation of heart function."

"The study findings might explain the etiology of heart failure in several patients who are otherwise labeled as having idiopathic cardiomyopathy. Decreased coronary flow reserve in the face of increased demand such as occurs during exercise or mental stress may lead to reduced heart function during stress and then eventually at rest. It would be interesting to find out whether exercise or mental stress challenge may bring out this abnormality even earlier. The findings suggest that screening by imaging, rather than by blood tests, is the way to detect presence of subclinical atherosclerosis as well as its effect on heart function," Dr. Naqvi said.

Amy Murphy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acc.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>