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Noninvasive imaging technique may help kids with heart transplants
Date:7/12/2012

ho served as controls. The transplant patients underwent standard coronary angiograms as part of their normal care. They also had MRIs of the coronary arteries to examine whether the noninvasive method correlated with the degree of coronary artery disease found in the angiograms. The eight children who served as controls only had MRI scans. The researchers assessing the MRI results were blinded to the results of the transplants patients' angiograms.

While all of the transplant patients' angiograms showed evidence of plaque build-up, in only six of them was it severe enough for a diagnosis of coronary artery disease.

These six patients had the brightest coronary arteries on the MRI scans, compared to both the transplant patients without coronary disease and the healthy controls. Still, the 23 transplant patients without diagnosed coronary disease had significantly brighter arteries than the healthy participants. Such evidence demonstrates the need to continue monitoring these patients.

Although the brightness of the arteries on MRI correlated well with a diagnosis of coronary artery disease, gadolinium can be toxic to the kidney, Canter points out. This means the technique can't be used for patients with poor kidney function. Furthermore, clear images with MRI are difficult in very young children because of their high heart rates. In this study, no participant was younger than age 10. Nevertheless, Canter sees a possible future place for this technique in helping to monitor the progress of coronary artery disease in transplant patients.

"The results of this pilot study were very promising," Canter says. "But we need to look at more patients. We're in the process of developing a bigger study to confirm and refine the results. I think eventually this could be used as a screening technique, not so much to eliminate, but to reduce the number of angiograms."


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Contact: Julia Evangelou Strait
straitj@wustl.edu
314-286-0141
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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