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Home Industry News Heart scars increase arrhythmia risk

Heart scars increase arrhythmia risk

2nd November 2005

People whose heart muscle wall contains more than 25 per cent scar tissue are significantly more likely to suffer from ventricular arrhythmias, according to a new study.

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the heart wall, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US found that arrhythmias increased by nine times in patients with high levels of scar tissue.

Patients who suffer from heart arrhythmias often have a defibrillator implanted, which delivers a shock to the heart to maintain cardiac rhythm.

“If further tests confirm that MRI measurements of scar tissue accurately predict the risk of arrhythmia-related sudden death, these could become the gold standard for screening who really needs or does not need a defibrillator,” said lead author Dr Henry Halperin.

The latest findings, published in the journal Circulation, are considered to be the only research into the architecture of the heart for signs of arrhythmias, rather than its pumping ability and electrical signalling.

“Our MRI technique has significant advantages over existing methods because it avoids the risks of infection that come with surgery, it is noninvasive, there are no catheters, and it is relatively easy to perform, taking only 45 minutes,” said co-author Dr Joao Lima.

track© Adfero Ltd

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