Researchers at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center hope to improve treatment and survival rates of ischemic heart disease patients by providing doctors an unprecedented look at the stents they place in coronary arteries.
The highly collaborative team received a $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The primary investigators leading the effort are: David Wilson, professor of biomedical engineering and radiology; Andrew Rollins, professor of biomedical engineering; and Hiram G. Bezerra. MD, assistant professor of cardiology, Case Western Reserve’s School of Medicine, and medical director of the Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, Cardiovascular Imaging Core Laboratories at UH.
Reviewers at the National Institutes deemed the proposal perfect: scientifically sound, highly innovative, and highly likely to produce positive results. They gave the plan a score of 10 out of 10—a rarity among the more than 50,000 grant applications the NIH receives annually.
Researchers have already begun tailoring new imaging and will develop high-speed computer analysis to help doctors determine whether a stent is restoring circulation as designed, if more stents are needed to seal off a problem area or whether a stent has failed or become a trouble spot.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have found a way to create three-dimensional maps of the stress that circulating blood places on the developing heart in an animal model – a key to understanding triggers of heart defects.
The team has begun testing the technology to uncover how alcohol, drugs and other factors set off events that result in defects found in newborn humans.
Passing blood cells drag on the endothelial cells that line the growing heart, a phenomenon called shear stress, which has been linked to changes in gene expression that results in defects, most often in the valves. But precisely how they’re connected is unclear.
“Alcohol exposure may affect shear stress by modulating the heart rate, but it may also involve vigor and/or timing of the contraction,” said Andrew Rollins, associate professor of biomedical engineering and senior author of the new study. “Now that we have the tool, we can start to figure that out.”
Love, exercise and, new research shows, an infrared laser can make a heart beat faster.
Scientists at Case Western Reserve University and Vanderbilt University found that pulsed light can pace contractions in an avian embryonic heart, with no apparent damage to the tissue. The work, “Optical pacing of the embryonic heart,” will be published in the advanced online issue of Nature Photonics on Aug. 15, 2010.
According to the scientists, this non-invasive device may prove an effective tool in understanding how environmental factors that alter an embryo’s heart rate lead to congenital defects. It may also lead to investigations of cardiac electrophysiology at the cellular, tissue and organ levels, and possibly the development of a new generation of pacemakers.