Researchers develop new heart attack warning system

A new technology that can flag patients at the risk of deadly heart attacks years in advance has been developed by scientists, including one of Indian origin.

Created by researchers at the University of Oxford in the UK and colleagues, the technology analyses computed tomography (CT) images of the fat surrounding the arteries to detect the inflamed plaques that can cause heart attacks. It uses a new biomarker, called the Fat Attenuation Index (FAI), which has been tested for the first time in a large study published in The Lancet journal.

Heart attacks are usually caused by inflamed plaques in the coronary artery causing an abrupt blockage of blood getting to the heart. The challenge for doctors is knowing which plaques are most likely to cause blockages, and therefore which patients should be treated with more aggressive therapies.

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