New Software Developed To View 3D Images Of The Heart; Holds Promise In Early Detection Of Heart Disease

It may now be possible to view 3D images of the coronary arteries in the catheterization lab, according to a new feasibility study, conducted by University of Colorado, including researchers from Philips and published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions.

The new system used rotational angiography and ECG gated iterative reconstruction to automatically generate computer-reconstructed 3-D images, thereby reducing the patient’s exposure to radiation and contrast dye. Although in the early testing phase, this technology may provide cardiologists with more information on the width, length, branching patterns and angles of arteries and any artery blockages.

The standard method of presenting coronary angiographic images employed for over 50 years, the cardiac catheterization procedure, generates 2D images by inserting a catheter into a patient’s leg artery, followed by threading it up to the heart. The catheter is then used to inject contrast dye to temporarily fill the coronary arteries allowing x-ray visualization of the inner diameter of the artery and further detect inner plaque build-up. X-rays are generated below the patient and a detector above the patient creates 2-D shadow-like images of coronary arteries.

“Coronary interventions may be improved by having a realistic, 3-D image of the coronary artery tree,” said John. D. Carroll, M.D., an investigator for the study and professor of medicine and director of interventional cardiology in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Colorado in Aurora, Colo. “This is the first in-human use. The next step is to test it in multiple centres around the world. In addition, we’ll formally test it to see the impact on clinical care. The bottom line is that this is very exciting technology that holds great promise,” Carroll said about the feasibility study.

Written by Snigdha Taduri for Biomed-ME