Published on October 17th, 2018
A new method of analysing images from CT scans can predict which patients are at risk of a heart attack years before it occurs.
Scientists have developed a new technique to predict the fatal heart attacks years ago in advance by identifying ticking time bomb’ arteries.
Most heart attacks are caused by a build-up of plaque — a fatty deposit — inside the artery, which interrupts the flow of blood.
After analysing which plaques are most likely to trigger a heart attack would allow doctors to treat the most at-risk patients with more aggressive therapies.
The new predictive technique looks for fat-modifying chemical signals released by the most dangerous arterial plaques.
On analysing computerised tomography (CT) scan images of the fat surrounding arteries, scientists were able to flag up patients at risk of deadly heart attacks years before they occurred.
The new heart attack warning system is known as the Fat Attenuation Index (FAI). FAI predicted fatal heart attacks many years before they happened. This technology is developed by teams at Oxford University and institutions in Germany and the US.
The study monitored the progress of 3,900 heart patients from Germany and the US for 10 years after they had undergone a coronary CT scan or angiogram.
The research showed that patients with an abnormal FAI reading were up to nine times more at risk of having a fatal heart attack in the next five years than those with normal readings.
Study leader Professor Charalambos Antoniades, from Oxford University, said: “This new technology may prove transformative for primary and secondary prevention.
“For the first time, we have a set of biomarkers, derived from a routine test that is already used in everyday clinical practice, that measures what we call the ‘residual cardiovascular risk’ currently missed by all risk scores and non-invasive tests.
Each year, more than 100,000 people die from a heart attack or related stroke in the UK alone. Heart disease and stroke remain the two biggest overall causes of death worldwide.
Yet currently there is way of detecting the potentially fatal build-up of plaque that can trigger a heart attack at an early stage.
Most heart scans are good at spotting blockages caused by large plaques, but not the smaller, high-risk plaques that are likely to rupture and cause a heart attack.
This new technique could be a game changer – allowing doctors to spot those ‘ticking time bomb’ patients who are most at risk of a heart attack, and getting them on to intensive treatment.
An Oxford University spin-off company is now developing a service to analyse CT scans from across the globe in around 24 hours.
Below Is 15 Harrowing Signs A Heart Attack Might Be In Your Near Future:
1. Chest Pains
Chest pains that come and go are the classic symptom of a heart attack. The pain will last for a few minutes, subside, only to return later
2. Shortness of breath
If you find that you’re panting or breathless or have a racing heart rate while walking up the stairs or doing other daily activities, or you can’t even carry on a conversation without losing your breath, it could be the sign of a heart attack.
Some say they feel like they’ve just run a marathon even though they haven’t moved. Keep in mind that these symptoms could also be the result of a pulmonary condition like COPD or asthma, or of a panic attack. But panic attacks usually come on suddenly and generally pass within five minutes. Breathlessness that starts slowly and lingers should not be ignored.
3. Sweating or feeling overheated.
If you suddenly find yourself drenched in a cold sweat for no apparent reason (and you know it’s not a hot flash), it could be the symptom of a heart attack.
4. Dizziness or lightheadedness.
Feeling faint and shaky for no obvious reason could mean that not enough blood is getting to your heart. Pay attention to this symptom, particularly if you’re also suffering from shortness of breath and a cold sweat.
Waves of nausea, stomach ache, cramps, vomiting and/or diarrhea are often reported by women or men who are having a heart attack. If nausea or vomiting comes along with other heart attack symptoms like shortness of breath, a cold sweat, or pain in your chest, back, or extremities, then you can be pretty sure it’s not due to food poisoning or the stomach flu.
Are you feeling anxious for no reason? Agitated? Have trouble going to sleep? People, especially women, who have suffered a heart attack, reported feeling anxious in the months leading up their attack. This relationship have been correlated in several studies. It’s thought that damaged hearts provide less oxygen to the blood and the lower oxygen levels lead to feelings of anxiety. If you have unexplained feelings of dread or anxiety, you should consult with your doctor.
In a study conducted by the University of Chicago, heavy sweating is commonly the first sign of a coming heart attack It’s been found that when a body is about to have a heart attack, the body will release a massive surge of catecholamines. a dopamine like hormone. This will lead to cold sweats and a feeling of clamminess.
8. Pain Under Your Arm
If you start having a pain under your arm, especially your left side, you should be particularly cautious. Often time, this pain is mistaken for normal muscle pain. When a damaged heart is about have a heart attack, it starts sending pain signal to your spinal cord and its nerves. This isn’t a constant pain, but will come and go. Be especially on guard, if the pain is caused by physical exertion and goes away after you rest.
9. Persistent Cough
A persistent cough not caused by any sickness, can also be a sign of heart failure or heart attack. As your damaged heart starts to fail, your lungs will start to fill up with lungs which will lead to the cough. In some instances, the phlegm will be bloody.
10. Dizzy Or Faint
Feeling dizzy or faint can be a sign of a coming heart attack. A coming heart attack will start restricting blood flow throughout your body. This can include blood loss to the brain which will cause you to feel faint or dizzy.
11. You Feel Queasy
If your stomach is tied up in knots all of a sudden, or if you experience vomiting seemingly out of nowhere, it’s well worth mentioning to your doctor. Fortunately, nausea and vomiting are often early warning signs of a heart attack, so getting them attended to early may help you fight back before your life is at risk.
12. Leg pain
If you get a gripping, cramping sensation in your calves when you are walking, it might be worth seeing your doctor, as that can be a marker of PAD (peripheral arterial disease). It’s most common in smokers and people who have diabetes.” Make an appointment with your GP.
13. Arm pain
If your pain is going down the arm, especially the left arm, or into the neck that makes it more likely to be heart-related than indigestion. If it doesn’t go away, or if you know you have heart disease and have used your GTN (glyceryl trinitrate) spray two or three times to no discernible effect, you should be seeking emergency medical advice.” Call for an ambulance.
14. Jaw or back pain
With heart attacks, it can even happen that the pain is felt in the jaw, or the back. Again, if it doesn’t go away, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.” There is some evidence that women’s symptoms are more likely to vary from ‘classic’ chest pain, and we know that women are less likely to seek medical attention and treatment.
15. Swollen ankles
This shouldn’t be ignored, especially if the ankles get really big, as it can be a marker of heart failure, but it is also very common and has lots of other causes. It could just as easily be from tablets you are taking – for example, blood pressure medication can lead to swollen ankles.