"Predicting heart attacks is very difficult and the methods we've got now are good but not perfect. Our new technique holds a lot of promise as a means of improving heart attack prediction although further ongoing work is needed before it becomes routine clinical practice.
"If we can identify patients at high risk of a heart attack earlier, we can then use intensive drug treatments, and perhaps procedures such as stents, to reduce the chances of them having a heart attack."
Dr Shannon Amoils, Research Advisor at the (BHF), which funded the study, said:
"For decades cardiologists have been looking for ways to detect the high-risk plaques found in coronary arteries that could rupture to cause a heart attack, but it's been difficult to develop a suitable imaging test that can focus in on these small vessels.
"This research is a technical tour de force as it allows us to assess active calcification happening right in the problem area inside the wall of the coronary arteries and this active calcification may correlate with a higher risk of a heart attack."
The research follows on from recent work Dr Dweck did using PET/CT that provided greater insight into the aortic valve disease aortic stenosis (5). With the support of the BHF, Dr Dweck and his colleagues at Edinburgh also intend to translate this technique into predicting a patient's risk of a stroke.
|Contact: Ben Kolb|
University of Edinburgh