Researchers at the University of East Anglia have developed cutting-edge technology that can diagnose heart failure patients in record time.
State-of-the-art technology uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to create detailed 4D images of the heart’s blood flow.
But unlike standard MRI scans, which can take up to 20 minutes or more, the new 4D cardiac MRI scans take just 8 minutes.
The results provide precise images of the heart valves and blood flow within the heart, helping doctors determine the best treatment for a patient.
Cardiac patients at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals (NNUH) have pioneered the new technology. The team hopes their work will revolutionize the rate at which heart failure is diagnosed, benefiting hospitals and patients around the world.
Heart failure is a dreaded disease caused by elevated pressure inside the heart. The best way to diagnose heart failure is through an invasive evaluation, which is not preferred because of the risks.
An ultrasound scan of the heart called an echocardiogram is often used to measure the peak velocity of blood flow through the heart’s mitral valve. However, this method may not be reliable.
We have been working on a state-of-the-art method for assessing blood flow in the heart called 4D flow MRI.
In 4D flow MRI, we can observe flow over time in three directions – the fourth dimension. “
Dr Pankaj Garg, Principal Investigator and NNUH Cardiologist Honorary Consultant, UEA Norwich Medical School
PhD student Hosamadin Assadi, also from UEA Norwich Medical School, said: “This new technology is revolutionizing the way heart patients are diagnosed. However, it can take up to 20 minutes to perform a 4D flow MRI, and we know that patients don’t like long MRI scans.
“So, we teamed up with GE Healthcare to investigate the reliability of a new technique that uses an ultra-fast method to scan blood flow in the heart, called Kat-ARC.
“We found that this halved the scan time – it took about eight minutes.
“We also showed how this non-invasive imaging technique can accurately and accurately measure the peak velocity of blood flow to the heart.”
The team tested the new technology on 50 patients at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Sheffield.
Evaluation of patients with suspected heart failure using the new Kat-ARC 4D flow MRI.
Dr Garg said: “This technology is revolutionizing the way we assess heart disease, and our study paves the way for ultrafast 4D flow MRI scans by halving scan times.
“This will benefit hospitals and patients around the world,” he added.
Professor Erika Denton, NNUH Medical Director, said: “NNUH is proud to be involved in pioneering research that has the potential to improve the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease patients.”
The project is funded by the Wellcome Trust. It is led by UEA researchers in collaboration with NNUH, University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, University of Dundee, GE Healthcare (Germany), Pai Medical Imaging (Netherlands) and the National Heart Centre and Duke University. National University of Singapore Faculty of Medicine (both in Singapore).
“Cat-ARC Accelerated 4D Flow CMR: Clinical Validation of Transvalvular Flow and Peak Velocity Assessment” Published in the journal European Radiology Experiment September 22.
University of East Anglia