Known as the index of microvascular resistance – or IMR – a new test to predict myocardial infarction outcome uses a pressure-sensitive and temperature-sensitive wire that can be used to accurately work out the extent of injury in a blood vessel supplying blood to the heart.
Findings from a study from the University of Glasgow and funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) were presented at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) Conference, held in Manchester this June. The researchers showed that a wire inserted into the coronary artery, after someone has a heart attack, can predict if they will go on to develop heart failure.
Professor Colin Berry, lead researcher and cardiologist from the University of Glasgow and Golden Jubilee National Hospital, said: ‘Heart attacks lead to heart failure, which is a big problem in the UK, and has a huge impact not only on the individual, but on the families and carers of those suffering – affecting whole communities.
‘Thanks in large part to the work of the British Heart Foundation, 70% of people who have a heart attack now survive, but this means we now see an increased number of people surviving but left with damaged hearts and heart failure. We want to improve the outlook for people after they have a heart attack and develop new treatments to limit heart damage, reducing the burden of heart failure.’
Around 175,000 heart attacks occur in the UK each year; survivors could find the heart has been damaged and could lead to heart failure (HF). As is known, early treatment after a heart attack can reduce the chance of HF.
After a suspected myocardial infarction a patient is routinely given a coronary angiogram to identify any narrowed blood vessels – but although this can identify narrowed vessels, it cannot show if, or how much, cardiac blood vessel damage has occurred. The Glasgow researchers now say the new wire technique can be used to work out the level of arterial damage, enabling doctors to quickly identify patients at a high risk of HF after their heart attack, based on damage to the arteries.
Patients were enrolled in this new research at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Glasgow. All will have life-long follow-up to check whether the IMR result predicts survival in the long term.
Professor Colin Berry is Chair of Cardiology and Imaging in the University of Glasgow and academic lead in cardiology and consultant cardiologist at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital and Western Infirmary, Glasgow. With specialist interests lie in interventional cardiology and imaging, and research focus on injury and repair pathways in coronary heart disease, Berry is a committee member of the British Cardiovascular Society Academic & Research Committee, the British Society of Cardiovascular Research and the British Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the American College of Cardiology.