Scientists monitor the activity of a beating heart

12 July 2012

A team of researchers based in the US has managed to view the trafficking of immune cells in a beating heart.

Surgeons and scientists at Washington University School of Medicine, in St Louis, have managed to capture detailed images of a beating heart at a high resolution in mice.

The procedure could prove critical for treating major heart problems, as it has allowed researchers to view the progress of individual immune cells swarming into the heart muscle.

Up until now, medical experts have been unsuccessful in seeing in real time how inflammation can be caused when blood flow is restored to the vital organ following secondary heart damage.

However, senior author Daniel Kreisel, a Washington University cardiothoracic surgeon, noted: "Inflammation is quite common after a heart attack, open-heart surgery, heart transplants and in atherosclerosis, and it can severely hamper recovery and lead to death."

A recent study led by an international group of researchers has highlighted that heart attacks are very likely to cause long-term effects such as damaging heart muscle tissue and triggering an inflammatory cascade.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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