It is possible to predict the risk of heart attack by performing a simple scan that can detect harmful plaques according to the latest study published in Lancet Medical Journal.
During this study researchers used a radioactive tracer element that can target the dangerous plaques. This was further assisted by high resolution images of blood vessels and the heart. So by this way we can have a detailed image with proper identification of danger zones.
Patients with cancer are already using this technology in order to get an accurate diagnosis. This study is of great importance because it is the first study which has advocated the use of scan to detect patients who are at higher risk of heart attack.
Dr Dweck said if this scan or similar ones proved successful it would make a “massive difference”.
He said: “Heart attacks are the biggest killer in the Western world and there is no prior warning, the first time people know about heart disease is when they have a heart attack.
“If we can treat and stabilise the plaques then we might be able to prevent heart attacks and stop people dying.”
Prof Peter Weissberg, the medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Being able to identify dangerous fatty plaques likely to cause a heart attack is something that conventional heart tests can’t do.
“This research suggests that PET-CT scanning may provide an answer – identifying ‘ticking time bomb’ patients at risk of a heart attack.
“We now need to confirm these findings, and then understand how best to use new tests like this in the clinic to benefit heart patients.”
Prof Andrew Morris, the chief scientist for health in Scotland, said: “These are exciting data – being able to prospectively identify patients at the highest risk of a heart attack and provide treatment to prevent this would be a significant step forward.”
Reference: Dr Nikhil V Joshi MD a, Alex T Vesey MD a, Michelle C Williams MD a, Anoop S V Shah MD a, Patrick A Calvert PhD c, Felicity H M Craighead BSc a, Su Ern Yeoh a, William Wallace MD a, Donald Salter MD a, Alison M Fletcher PhD a, Edwin J R van Beek PhDa, Andrew D Flapan MD b, Neal G Uren MD b, Miles W H Behan MD b, Nicholas L M Cruden PhD b, Nicholas L Mills PhD a, Prof Keith A A Fox MD a, James H F Rudd PhD c, Marc R Dweck PhD a †, Prof David E Newby DSc. 18F-fluoride positron emission tomography for identification of ruptured and high-risk coronary atherosclerotic plaques: a prospective clinical trial. 2013. The Lancet.doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61754-7
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