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 Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'
16.11.2018 | Purdue University

nachricht Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal
14.11.2018 | Michigan Technological University

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: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>