BALTIMORE, Md., Dec. 21 -- Researchers have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in animal studies to measure with 94 percent accuracy the size and amount of heart muscle damaged by a heart attack, known in medical terms as a myocardial infarct.
The Johns Hopkins University development, if confirmed in humans, could standardize how physicians currently gauge the severity of a heart attack and a patient's chances for recovery. A variety of methods, such as visual cues, are used to determine the size of an infarct by MRI, but these have been shown in previous studies to overestimate damage by an average of 11 percent.
The researchers hope to apply this information to determine more accurate dosing for stem cell therapies currently under development, in which upwards of 200 million stem cells are injected directly into the damaged heart muscle.
"Our hope is that these results will help establish clear and effective guidelines for measuring the size of a myocardial infarct, and this will improve a physician's ability to make an accurate prognosis," said lead study author and Hopkins cardiology research fellow Luciano Amado, MD. "Cardiologists also need to accurately gauge the amount of damaged muscle as part of our preparations for future treatments that could possibly repair it, most notably stem cell therapies."
For more information, visit: www.jhu.edu