Novel Ultrasound Technology Makes Screening for Heart Conditions Cheaper & Easier
Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have determined - for the first time - the impact of a ring-shaped vortex on transporting blood flow in normal and abnormal ventricles within the human heart. The findings could have an impact on the tests and measurements that physicians rely on to diagnose and treat two heart conditions: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, and non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy, in which the heart's ability to pump blood decreases as the organ's main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, is enlarged and its muscle thinned. Nearly one million Americans suffer from either one of these conditions. In order to make the study possible, the researchers developed a novel ultrasound technology that makes screening cheaper and much easier, making it possible to reach a large number of people and even infants. Intra-ventricular flow imaging is currently done with MRI scans, which is expensive and not suitable for patients with implanted devices such as pacemakers.