Blood flow in the heart revealed in a flash

July 10, 2018, Linköping University
From left: Vikas Gupta, Carl-Johan Carlhäll, Lilian Henriksson, Jonas Lantz, Matts Karlsson, Tino Ebbers and Anders Persson at Linkoping University. Credit: Thor Balkhed

Researchers at Linköping University have for the first time been able to use information from computer tomography images to simulate the heart function of an individual patient. Some of the modeling methods they use were developed in the motor industry. The results of their study have been published in Radiology.

Computer tomography systems, also known as CT scanners, are found in most Swedish hospitals. They can be used to determine whether a patient has cardiovascular disease, including problems with calcification of the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen. The investigation is quick, and the patient can go home immediately after.

"The next step, if it is suspected that something is wrong, is a significantly longer and more complicated investigation, where the patient must spend the night in hospital. We have developed a method where we instead use all of the information that we already have from the first investigation. Our may have major clinical significance," says Anders Persson, professor in medical imaging and director of the Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV).

One person who has played a key role is Jonas Lantz, researcher at the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and CMIV. He presented his doctoral degree in applied thermodynamics and fluid mechanics at LiU. He has imposing knowledge of the methods used to simulate flowing fluids and turbulence in the aeronautical and motor industries, and their application for flow through human . He has used these modeling methods to simulate the blood flow in a patient's heart with the aid of the high-resolution images that are produced from the CT scanner. He has used the huge computing power available from the supercomputers at the National Supercomputer Centre (NSC) at LiU.

"This is the first time we have shown that we can simulate the function of the heart in a particular patient. In the future, we won't need to use supercomputers: the calculations can be done at the CT scanner," says Matts Karlsson, director of NSC and professor in applied thermodynamics and fluid mechanics.

In order to be certain that the computer-generated images agree with reality, the researchers asked the study's 12 whether they were willing to remain for a short time after the CT investigation and undergo a further investigation using . "Most of them agreed to the further investigation, and this means that we have been able to compare the calculated images with reality. The images are nearly identical," says Anders Persson.

Tino Ebbers, professor of , is convinced that the technology will be useful. "Magnetic resonance cameras are effective, but they are not available everywhere. The investigation is expensive, patients should not have any metal like pacemakers in their body, and the investigation takes quite some time. Since CT scanning is quick and easy, we can reach completely new patient groups. We can now simulate how the heart is functioning in individual patients," he says.

"We can study the motion of the heart muscle, its physiological condition and its function, while the patient is comfortable at home," Anders Persson says.

It is no coincidence that LiU researchers present results that require deep knowledge within not only flow patterns and turbulence but also medicine and image processing, using methods that require supercomputers.

"This is a good example of how we manage the infrastructure we have at LiU, with magnetic resonance cameras, computer tomographs and supercomputers. We don't sit in our own isolated rooms: it's easy to carry out cross-disciplinary research at LiU. However, at the same time it does need people with a foot in both camps, such as Jonas Lantz, since our methods have been taken from medical research, image processing and applied ," says Matts Karlsson.

Explore further: How can oil technology help heart patients?

More information: Jonas Lantz et al, Intracardiac Flow at 4D CT: Comparison with 4D Flow MRI, Radiology (2018). DOI: 10.1148/radiol.2018173017

Related Stories

How can oil technology help heart patients?

February 23, 2018
Restricted blood flow in the coronary arteries can result in a heart attack. A narrowing in the arteries providing oxygen to the heart can therefore be deadly. Today, doctors examine patients using a catheter to determine ...

World first MRI study sheds light on heart damage during kidney dialysis

November 29, 2016
Experts in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and kidney disease have carried out the first ever scans to study the heart function of kidney patients while they are having dialysis treatment.

Google AI can predict heart disease by looking at pictures of the retina

February 19, 2018
I can look into your eyes to see straight to your heart.

New cardiac imaging technique shortens testing time, improves patient comfort

April 9, 2018
A team of Cedars-Sinai investigators has developed a new technique for conducting cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests that improves patient comfort, shortens testing time and has the potential to increase diagnostic ...

A computer simulation to spare children from heart surgery

September 1, 2016
Children with congenital heart defects often undergo a battery of strenuous examinations and interventions. In the EU CARDIOPROOF project, Fraunhofer researchers have developed software to simulate certain interventions in ...

Recommended for you

Proteins cooperate to break up energy structures in oxygen starved heart cells

November 19, 2018
During a heart attack, the supply of oxygen to heart cells is decreased. This reduced oxygen level, called hypoxia, causes the cell's powerhouses, the mitochondria, to fragment, impairing cell function and leading to heart ...

Bullying and violence at work increases the risk of cardiovascular disease

November 19, 2018
People who are bullied at work or experience violence at work are at higher risk of heart and brain blood vessel problems, including heart attacks and stroke, according to the largest prospective study to investigate the ...

Genetic analysis links obesity with diabetes, coronary artery disease

November 16, 2018
A Cleveland Clinic genetic analysis has found that obesity itself, not just the adverse health effects associated with it, significantly increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. The paper was published ...

Non-coding genetic variant could improve key vascular functions

November 15, 2018
Atherosclerotic disease, the slow and silent hardening and narrowing of the arteries, is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. It is responsible for more than 15 million deaths each year, including an estimated 610,000 ...

Study of two tribes sheds light on role of Western-influenced diet in blood pressure

November 14, 2018
A South American tribe living in near-total isolation with no Western dietary influences showed no increase in average blood pressure from age one to age 60, according to a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg ...

Heart failure patients shouldn't stop meds even if condition improves: study

November 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—There's bad news for heart failure patients with dilated cardiomyopathy who'd like to stop taking their meds.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.