Scientists visualise the scars left by heart attacks
These images show (A) a healthy heart and (B) a heart damaged due to a lack of oxygen during a heart attack.
As you can see, the microstructure of a heart changes after a heart attack (B). The scar (outlined area), is formed because of the tissue death caused by a local lack of oxygen, and the consistency of muscle cell arrangement compared to the healthy heart (A) is lost. This will affect how much blood the heart can pump into the body within one heartbeat.
The images taken by BBSRC-funded researchers at the British Heart Foundation Experimental Magnetic Resonance Unit (BMRU), University of Oxford, were generated by a special type of imaging technique that measures the motion and movement of water molecules in the heart tissue.
This new technology, that Dr Jurgen Schneider and his team have developed, could eventually allow doctors to be able to look at a 3D+T representation of the patient’s heart, zoom-in on any relevant detail (a coronary vessel blockage or a damaged part of tissue), assess treatment options, and predict outcomes for the specific individual before the patient even enters the operating theatre. Much of this vision is still far ahead. Nonetheless, this research is vital to its development.
Image credit: BHF Experimental MR Unit, Radcliffe Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Oxford.
Read more: http://www.rdm.ox.ac.uk/principal-investigators/researcher/jurgen-schneider
Read more on how BBSRC-funded scientists are trying to mend broken hearts: http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/health/2014/140214-n-helping-mend-broken-hearts.aspx