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Breakthrough heart scanner will allow earlier diagnosis
Date:1/28/2010

is leading the research team.

"The sensor placed over the area being examined lives outside the shielded area and transmits signals into the detector. The sensor head is made up of a series of coils that cancel out unwanted signals and amplifies the signals that are needed. So the tiny magnetic fields produced by a person's heart can be transmitted into the heavily shielded environment. What we've been able to do is combine existing technology from the areas of atomic physics and medical physics in a completely unique way."

Like all parts of the body, the heart produces its own distinctive magnetic 'signature'. The research team has demonstrated that their magnetometer developed as part of their work in the area of quantum physics can reveal tiny variations in that signature. Studying these variations can, in turn, reveal the presence of a cardiac condition. The team is now working on miniaturising the magnetometer for widespread medical use. The device could be ready for use in routine diagnosis in around three years.

"Early detection of heart conditions improves the prospects for successful treatment. This system will also quickly identify people who need immediate treatment," says Professor Varcoe. "But our device won't just benefit patients it will also help ease the strain on healthcare resources and hospital waiting lists."


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Contact: EPSRC Press Office
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Source:Eurekalert

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