Improved prognosis and diagnosis options for heart diseases
Health experts repeatedly point out that even supposedly harmless infections should not be taken lightly. After all, simple colds can spread to the heart muscle. However, this often remains undetected for a long time and can therefore be extremely dangerous and, in the worst case, even be fatal. Such risks can be reduced by new diagnostic options.
Heart disease is not just a risk for the elderly
Heart disease is by no means just a risk for the elderly. Physically active people can also be at risk, for example if an actually harmless common cold spreads to the heart muscle. Such heart muscle infections are often not recognized in time. If, for example, the craftsman continues his active activity or the athlete continues his intensive training, this can lead to chronic inflammation and, in the worst case, to sudden death. In its current issue, the science magazine "Forschung Frankfurt" describes how examinations with state-of-the-art imaging devices reduce such risks.
Look into the heart muscle
Prof. Eike Nagel and his twelve employees in the "Cardiovascular Imaging" department at Goethe University Frankfurt are developing improved options for predicting and diagnosing heart diseases.
"With the help of magnetic resonance tomography, we can look into the heart muscle," says Nagel, describing the advantages of a procedure that is quite new in cardiac examinations, which the Frankfurt team has been instrumental in developing and developing over the past few years.
It makes the blood flow visible and thus possible constrictions. The experts also recognize whether the heart muscle is scarred, inflamed or otherwise changed.
Various diseases radiate to the heart
The comparatively fast method allows patients to be examined at an early stage and thus possibly preventing heart failure up to and including myocardial infarction.
"Diseases such as HIV, kidney damage, rheumatism or tumors often also radiate to the heart," explains Nagel in a message.
"Today we can successfully treat or even cure so many diseases - but the heart suffers undetected and should therefore be observed," said the cardiologist.
Recognize the finest changes
The gentle MRI examination from the outside is just as efficient at lower risks as a classic cardiac catheter procedure, in which a fine tube is pushed through a vein to the heart.
Nagel's working group was recently able to show this in an internationally recognized study.
The cardiovascular imaging department also has state-of-the-art computer tomographs for three-dimensional images of the heart. In particular, they make calcified deposits visible, which could burst in the future and trigger a sudden heart attack.
Nagel predicts that a heartbeat will soon suffice for a meaningful recording - patients currently have to hold their breath for six to ten seconds so that the lung activity does not blur the picture.
Nagel has been fascinated by these rapid advances in imaging over the past few decades: "Today we can see the tiniest changes and actually get an idea of the heart disease." (Ad)