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Super-Fast MRI Scan Could Revolutionize Heart Failure Diagnosis

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 23 Sep 2022

Researchers at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) have developed a cutting-edge technology to diagnose patients with heart failure in record time. The state-of-the-art technology called Kat-ARC uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to create detailed 4D flow images of the heart. But unlike a standard MRI scan, which can take up to 20 minutes or more, the new 4D heart MRI scan takes just eight minutes. The results provide a precise image of the heart valves and blood flow inside the heart, helping doctors determine the best course of treatment for patients. The team tested the new technology with 50 patients with suspected heart failure were assessed using the new Kat-ARC 4D heart flow MRI. The team now hopes that their work could revolutionize the speed at which heart failure is diagnosed, benefitting hospitals and patients world-wide.

“Heart failure is a dreadful condition resulting from rising pressures inside the heart. The best method to diagnose heart failure is by invasive assessment, which is not preferred as it has risks,” said lead researcher Dr. Pankaj Garg, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School and an Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at NNUH. “An ultrasound scan of the heart called echocardiography is routinely used to measure the peak velocity of blood flow through the mitral valve of the heart. However, this method can be unreliable. We have been researching one of the most cutting-edge methods of flow assessment inside the heart called 4D flow MRI. In 4D flow MRI, we can look at the flow in three directions over time - the fourth dimension.”

Image: New cutting-edge MRI technology can diagnose patients with heart failure in record time (Photo courtesy of Pexels)
Image: New cutting-edge MRI technology can diagnose patients with heart failure in record time (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

“This new technology is revolutionizing how patients with heart disease are diagnosed,” said PhD student Hosamadin Assadi, also from UEA’s Norwich Medical School. “However, it takes up to 20 minutes to carry out a 4D flow MRI and we know that patients do not like having long MRI scans. So, we collaborated with General Electric Healthcare to investigate the reliability of a new technique that uses super-fast methods to scan the flow in the heart, called Kat-ARC. We found that this halves the scanning time – and takes around eight minutes. We have also shown how this non-invasive imaging technique can measure the peak velocity of blood flow in the heart accurately and precisely.”

“This technology is revolutionizing how we assess heart disease and our research paves the way for the super-fast 4D flow MRI scans by halving the scan time,” added Dr. Garg. “This will benefit hospitals and patients across the whole world.”

Related Links:
University of East Anglia 

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