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New Method to Prevent Heart Attacks

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cardiovascular disease is by far the absolute most common national disease in Sweden and a little more than 26,000 people are treated every year at hospitals due to acute cardiac infarction, according to the Heart and Lung Foundation. KTH researcher Matilda Larsson at the School of technology and health at KTH has recently defended her thesis and her research aims at developing methods which can as early as possible assess the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The earlier the risk of cardiovascular disease can be identified, the easier it will be to avoid acute cardiac infarction which will save lives. But even if research and health care has been improved considerably over the past few years, cardiovascular disease even in the future will be one of the most common reasons for sickness and mortality in Sweden. That is why Matilda Larsson’s research is, to say the least, of vital importance.

One of the problems that we face today is that the methods used for risk assessment are new, and they need to be fine-tuned. The people that use the technology that is available must have considerable experience in being able to interpret the data they receive,” says Matilda Larsson.

To rectify this problem, Matilda Larsson has developed the existing ultrasound technology so that the information is more easily accessible.

By visualising the data, the doctor will find it easier to interpret the results,” says Matilda Larsson.

The usual method is that the doctor measures the heart’s blood flow and how the cardiac valves operate. With the Speckle tracking method, Matilda Larsson and her colleagues study how the ultrasound image’s greyscale pattern changes, and she can also measure the movement patterns and deformation of the heart and the vascular tissue.

The long-term objective is to have access to a sensitive method which can predict myocardial infarction at an early stage,” says Matilda Larsson.
Her thesis is called “Quantification and visualisation of cardiovascular function using ultrasound” and she has applied for a patent for a method used within this area.

Matilda Larsson originally comes from Östervåla between Gävle and Uppsala, but she will not be returning there for quite some time.

Now I will continue as a post doctoral student at the university in Leuven, Belgium, where I conducted some of my thesis work. We will study movements and deformation of the carotis,” says Matilda.


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Image Caption: Matilda Larsson, in the background you can see her research in the form of a state of the heart diagram. This method provides a picture as to how the heart works during an entire cardiac cycle.
Image Credit: KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Source: KTH
Time Stamp: 3/17/2010 at 3:12:23 PM UTC
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