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Cardiac Research Improves Heart Failure Detection for Women

New cardiac research will save women’s lives by improving detection of heart failure: Researchers led by teams from the Universities of East Anglia (UEA), Sheffield and Leeds, have been able to fine-tune how magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to detect heart failure in women’s hearts, making it more accurate.

Lead author Dr Pankaj Garg, of the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School and a consultant cardiologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “By refining the method for women specifically, we were able to diagnose 16.5pc more females with heart failure.

“This could have huge impact in the NHS, which diagnoses around 200,000 patients with heart failure each year.”

The Government’s Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins, said: “Heart failure is a devastating condition affecting hundreds of thousands of women in the UK, so this research is a hugely positive development that could make it possible for thousands of people to get diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage.”

Co-author Dr Gareth Matthews, of UEA‘s Norwich Medical School, said: “Currently one of the best ways of diagnosing heart failure is to measure pressures inside the heart with a tube called a catheter.

“While this is very accurate, it is an invasive procedure, and therefore carries risks for patients, which limits its use.

“For this reason, doctors tend to use echocardiograms, which are based on ultrasound, to assess heart function, but this is inaccurate in up to 50 per cent of cases. Using MRI, we can get much more accurate images of how the heart is working.”

Images of researchers and a copy of the embargoed paper are available to download from dropbox here:

“Sex-specific cardiac magnetic resonance pulmonary capillary wedge pressure” is published in the European Heart Journal Open.

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