Scientists state that a new scan technique could identify people at risk of collapsing and dying suddenly from a hidden heart condition. Normally, in people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, signs of structural changes in the heart can only be identified after death.
However, University of Oxford researchers used microscopic imaging to spot the same patterns in living patients.
The research team focused on detecting those at risk of sudden death, by looking for abnormal fibre patterns in the heart which could lead to potentially deadly heart rhythms. A small device can then be implanted in their heart to kick-start it into beating again when an abnormal heart rhythm is detected.
Dr Rina Ariga, study author and cardiologist at University of Oxford, said: "Were hopeful that this new scan will improve the way we identify high-risk patients, so that they can receive an implantable cardioverter defibrillator early to prevent sudden death."
The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scanned 50 patients with HCM and 30 healthy volunteers and found "disarray" in living patients with the heart condition that had previously only been found in patients after sudden cardiac death. (BBC, May 20, 2019)