New Heart Scan Technique Could Enable Detection of ‘Sudden Death’ Risk

BBC News, 20th May 2019

According to the University of Oxford researchers, a new microscopic imaging technique can be used to spot the signs of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM); the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young people. This common condition affects 1 in 500 people in the UK and can prove fatal. Normally, the signs of this condition can only be detected after death and many with HCM experience no symptoms. However, this new technique can be used to detect the structural changes in the heart indicating HCM in living patients. “We’re hopeful that this new scan will improve the way we identify high-risk patients so that they can receive an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator early to prevent sudden death,” said study author and cardiologist at the University of Oxford, Dr Rina Ariga.
 “It is fantastic to think in the future these clinical findings could be identified in patients living with HCM and used to help in their routine diagnostic and treatments pathways,” said Dr Steven Cox, chief executive of Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY). He added that cardiac screening “using the cost-effective and non-invasive ECG [electrocardiogram] test” is key to identifying those at risk in the general population. Read More