The risk of infarction a few years before it occurs is a scenario that seems unlikely, but the latest scientific findings ensure the veracity of this scenario. The research was published in The Lancet Medical Journal in 2018.
A new method of scanning imaging can predict the risk of an infarction many years before it occurs. The procedure, created by teams from Oxford University, institutions in Germany and the United States, uses algorithms to examine the coronary artery fat layer by analyzing a cardiac tomography.
Artery inflammation is an early warning sign for about 30% of infarction, researchers say.
"If it is possible to identify inflammation in the coronary arteries, then you can specify which arteries … will cause the heart attack," says Charalambos Antoniades, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Oxford.
"With the new technology we have at our disposal, we can do this by analyzing simple tomographies."
Most of the heart attacks are caused by a fatty plaque in the artery that stops the blood flow. Currently, tomography can tell the doctor if an artery has already become thinner due to fat.
With the help of new technology, for which researchers hope to obtain the necessary authorizations both in the United States and in Europe within a year, physicians will be able to predict which arteries are in danger of narrowing.
"We can say … your arteries are inflamed and will narrow over the next five years. So you can start applying precautions to avoid plaque formation, "says Antoniades.
Coronary heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death worldwide.
"Although we have not estimated the exact number of heart attacks we can prevent, it will be possible to identify at least 20 or 30 percent of the individuals before suffering such an attack," says Antoniades.
A company collaborating with Oxford University is currently developing a service that can analyze any tomography in the world in about 24 hours.