Engineers at the University of California and the Gregorio Marañon Hospital have determined for the first time the impact of a ring-shaped vortex on transporting blood flow in normal and abnormal ventricles within the human heart. They worked with cardiologists.
In order to make the study possible, researchers have developed a novel ultrasound technology that makes screening cheaper and much easier, making it possible to reach a large number of people and even infants. Intra-ventricular flow imaging is currently done with MRI scans, which is expensive and not suitable for patients with implanted devices such as pacemakers.
The findings could have an impact on the tests and measurements that physicians rely on to diagnose and treat two heart conditions; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, and non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy, in which the heart’s ability to pump blood decreases as the organ’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, is enlarged and its muscle thinned. Nearly one million Americans suffer from either one of these conditions.
So far, physicians only take into consideration the geometry of the left ventricle and the thickness and contractility of its walls when they assess how the heart fills itself with blood. But the way the blood flows into the heart’s chambers is important too, researchers argue. They reported their findings in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The team’s objective was to shape the view of diastolic dysfunction to include flow patterns as a mechanism that modulates the chamber’s resistance to filling, in addition to the wall’s own stiffness.
People suffering from hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathies often don’t show symptoms of the condition until it’s too late, making early screening of paramount importance. When patients are not diagnosed early, these conditions have unfavorable prognosis, worse than a number of cancers, with most of the patients dying within five years.
For this study, the team of cardiologists recruited 60 subjects, including 20 patients with non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy; 20 patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; and 20 healthy subjects as a control group. All subjects underwent comprehensive 2D echocardiographic exams. Then, engineers processed the images with methods typically used to create flow simulations for the aeronautical and naval industries, capturing the blood flow inside each subject’s hearts.
Researchers found that the ring-shaped vortex helps to allocate about 15 percent of the blood flow within the left ventricle in healthy patients; roughly 20 percent in patients with non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy; but only about 5 percent for patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
It is always difficult to determine if the heart is filling properly. This new method will bring physicians a step closer to doing so. Treatment therapy for cardiomyopathies often includes devices implantation, such as pacemakers, to regulate blood flow within the heart. The data from these new imaging modalities could be instrumental, helping physicians to properly set up the devices, optimizing blood flow.
Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.
Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.
Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.
Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.
Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.
An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.