British Heart Foundation: Research presented today at the annual British Cardiovascular Society Conference has proven that a wire inserted into an artery which supplies blood to the heart, called a coronary artery, after someone has a heart attack can predict if they will go on to develop heart failure. There are around 175,000 heart attacks in the UK each year – that’s one every three minutes. For those who survive a heart attack there is a risk that the heart will have been damaged and this can lead to heart failure.
Heart failure can have a huge impact on a person’s life, leaving them
tired, short of breath and unable to do simple tasks like walk or take a
shower by themselves. Early treatment following a heart attack can reduce the chance of heart failure and improve a person’s wellbeing and chances of survival.
After a suspected heart attack, a patient is routinely given a coronary angiogram
to identify any narrowed blood vessels. An angiogram visualises the
affected blood vessels using a catheter threaded towards the heart from a
distant blood vessel in the arm or leg. Currently, cardiologists make
treatment decisions based on this standard assessment technique but it
can only identify narrowed vessels and cannot tell the doctor if, or how
much, heart blood vessel damage has occurred.
The study, led by Professor Colin Berry from the University of Glasgow
and funded by us uses a pressure- and temperature-sensitive wire,
inserted into someone’s coronary artery, which can be used to accurately
work out the extent of vessel injury in the heart. They discovered that
this test – known as the index of microvascular resistance or IMR – can
be used to predict if someone is likely to go on to develop heart
failure or even die.
The wire technique can be used to work out the level of damage to the
arteries in a matter of minutes. This allows doctors to quickly and
accurately identify patients who are at a high risk of heart failure
after their heart attack based on the damage to their arteries.