Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Imaging Advance Might Help Heart Attack Victims

Doctors and many others have known that heart attacks cause bleeding inside the muscle's of the heart, and now have a way of determining the extent of damage caused in individual cases.

MRI technology has given us the first images of hearts bleeding following attacks, and has allowed doctors to determine that the amount of bleeding most likely correlates to the amount of damage. The images were possible thanks to the magnetic iron content in blood.

When a heart attack happens, blood and oxygen flow to the heart is extremely or completely limited due to blocked arteries, but excess bleeding into the muscle can occur after the arteries are clear again.

Scientists have not done much study on the significance of after-attack bleeding until the MRI images were released. Hopefully the discovery will be used in the future to determine severity of individual heart attacks, more accurate survival rates, and will allow doctors to provide better after care tailored to each case.

Links of interest:


  1. Arrhythmias (Abnormal Heart Rhythms)

    The heart is normally driven by electrical impulses that follow specific pathways through the heart muscle. A heart attack damages heart muscle and often disrupts these electrical pathways. Other stimulation of the body's nervous system and certain heart medications can also disturb the heart's electrical impulses. These changes cause abnormal heart rates and rhythms, called "arrhythmias."

  2. As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

    Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number.