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Emerging technology improves heart health testing

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

A team of researchers at Vanderbilt University has developed an imaging system that can study the properties of the heart which lead to cardiac arrest, and may produce more refined heart disease tests.

The research, which was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, aims to give scientists a more thorough understanding of how metabolic disorders and heart rhythm disturbances can lead to cardiac arrest and death.

Some researchers believe the technology may provide a starting point for testing and treatments that can prevent or stop harmful heart arrhythmias.

Described in the November issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, the dual camera imaging system boasts the advantages of rapid setup, two-color image separation, and high spatial resolution. The images the technology produces will allow doctors to study the heart's metabolic and electrochemical properties under changing conditions.

"The challenge in understanding cardiac rhythm disorders is to discern the dynamic relationship between multiple cardiac variables," said lead investigator Dr John Wikswo. "This dual camera system opens up a new window for correlating metabolic and electrophysiological events, which are usually studied independently."

According to the National Institutes of Health, 250,000 to 450,000 people die each year in the U.S. as a result of sudden heart attacks, instigated by arrhythmia.

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