New scans 'could help cardiac research development'

14 December 2011

A new way of scanning patients with heart problems could open new doors to better treatment methods, according to latest research.

Scientists have found that people who suffer with life-threatening heart valve disease could benefit from an alternative way of scanning the heart, which would provide a better insight into the condition and further opportunities for treatment studies.

The scientists at the University of Edinburgh tested an imaging technique that could predict whether a patient would need cardiac surgery to replace damaged valves.

Dr Marc Dweck, of the university's Clinical Research Imaging Centre, said: "Currently the only form of treatment is heart surgery, which is not necessarily ideal as the majority of patients are over 65."

He added that the latest research could clarify what is happening to heart valves and halt the process of them narrowing - as caused by the disease.

Heart valve narrowing affects around one in 20 people aged over 65 in the UK and is increasing due to people living for longer.

According to the British Heart Foundation, cardiomyopathy - a disease of the heart muscle - a heart attack and ageing are all possible causes of valve disease.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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