Rapid heart imaging technique may cut costs, boost care in developing world

August 29, 2018, American Heart Association
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A newly developed rapid imaging protocol quickly and cheaply diagnosed heart ailments in patients in Peru, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

In Peru, affects 3.2 million (16 percent of the adult population), leading to a significant loss of well-being, estimated at 281,829 Disability Adjusted Life Years.

Current Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CMR) usage in high income countries focuses on function, scar (fibrous tissue that replaces normal destroyed by injury or disease), perfusion, flow, mapping and angiography and delivers valuable clinical insights leading to targeted and precise treatments. However, these varied techniques make it slow (typically 45 minutes), expensive, complex and potentially out of reach for most people in the developing world.

In this study, researchers developed and tested a rapid CMR protocol using contrast dye that measured cardiac structure, function and scarring. The rapid diagnostics worked with existing infrastructure, took 18 minutes and cost $150 per patient resulting in important changes in patient care.

"Our CMR strategy was three to five times cheaper than current CMR exams in Peru," said James C. Moon, M.D., study lead author and professor at Barts Heart Centre, St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London. "It also can be delivered two to three times faster and is easier than conventional CMR."

Researchers conducted scans on 98 Peruvian patients (average age 52, 60 percent female). Scanning found 26 percent had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, 22 percent had dilated cardiomyopathy, 15 percent had ischemic cardiomyopathy (when cardiovascular disease or attack cause the disease), and uncovered 12 other pathologies including tumors, , iron overload, amyloid plaques (abnormal protein deposits), genetic syndromes, inflamed vessels, clots and valve disease.

Researchers report CMR revealed an unsuspected new diagnosis in 19 percent of patients or led to a change of treatment in 37 percent. In 5 percent, a change in care management was suggested but not delivered due to access barriers (cardiac surgery or device therapy).

Researchers found rapid CMR satisfied all imaging needs in 89 percent of patients. In 7 percent where CMR was the first imaging technique performed, no further non-invasive imaging was needed. CMR did not miss any diagnoses initially found by echocardiography, researchers said.

"Because the rapid CMR protocol was embedded in clinical care with training and education, it resulted in important and frequent patient management changes that appeared beneficial for both and the healthcare system," said Katia Menacho, Ph.D., study first author and cardiovascular science research fellow at Barts Heart Centre, St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London. "Lack of resources is not a justification for the absence of key diagnostic tests in the developing world."

In an accompanying editorial, Christopher M. Kramer, M.D., University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville notes: "To make this proof-of-principle study a reality in much of the developing world, imagers will need to be trained at sites with appropriate scanner technology. Only in this way will an abbreviated protocol for evaluation of cardiomyopathies be implemented. This is an exciting time for the potential of broadening the impact of CMR throughout the developing world."

Explore further: Researchers develop faster and cheaper cardiac imaging test for developing countries

More information: Journal of the American Heart Association (2018). DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.118.008981

Related Stories

Researchers develop faster and cheaper cardiac imaging test for developing countries

May 26, 2017
Researchers in the UK and Peru have developed a faster and cheaper cardiac imaging test that can be used in developing countries, according to the results of the INCA-Peru study presented today at EuroCMR 2017. The scan is ...

Study reveals early warning signs of heart problems in patients with newly diagnosed lupus

August 2, 2018
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in patients with lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease. In a new study in Arthritis & Rheumatology—a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology—imaging ...

Heart muscle disease patients benefit from defibrillator

September 4, 2017
Some heart disease patients who are treated with cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) would live longer and have fewer hospital admissions if they also received a defibrillator, concludes a team of researchers led by Aston ...

Precise visualization of myocardial injury: World's first patient-based cardiac MRI study using 7T MRI

February 10, 2016
In a world-first, researchers from Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) have performed cardiac MRI imaging using a 7T MRI scanner in a patient-based study. 7T MRI ...

Four in ten cardiomyopathies—a major cause of sudden death in young people—are genetic

January 24, 2018
Four in ten cardiomyopathies - a major cause of sudden cardiac death and heart failure in young people - are genetic, according to a European Society of Cardiology (ESC) study published today in European Heart Journal.1 Family ...

Higher risk of dying due to heart cell damage without any symptoms occurs during or after non-heart surgery

December 4, 2017
Surgery that doesn't involve the heart may cause damage to the heart in people with known or at high risk of developing heart disease and was associated with an increased risk of death, according to new research in the American ...

Recommended for you

Effective drug delivery to heart with tannic acid

September 18, 2018
Typical methods of drug delivery to the heart require surgical procedures involving incisions in the chest wall and bones. To efficiently treat cardiovascular and related vascular diseases without surgery, a KAIST research ...

Daily low-dose aspirin found to have no effect on healthy life span in older people

September 16, 2018
In a large clinical trial to determine the risks and benefits of daily low-dose aspirin in healthy older adults without previous cardiovascular events, aspirin did not prolong healthy, independent living (life free of dementia ...

Financial incentives for cholesterol control may be cost-effective

September 14, 2018
A program that offered financial incentives to both patients and their physicians to control low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol could be a cost-effective intervention for patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease ...

Apple's smartwatch has a heart monitor now

September 13, 2018
There will soon be another way to monitor your heart—from your wrist.

3-D virtual simulation gets to the 'heart' of irregular heartbeats

September 12, 2018
In a proof of concept study, scientists at Johns Hopkins report they have successfully performed 3-D personalized virtual simulations of the heart to accurately identify where cardiac specialists should electrically destroy ...

Dairy consumption linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality

September 12, 2018
Dairy consumption of around three servings per day is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality, compared to lower levels of consumption, according to a global observational study of over 130,000 ...

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.