Alternate test for defibrillator


November 04, 2005|By SUN STAFF

Using magnetic resonance imaging to scan the heart wall, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have found that patients with more than 25 percent scar tissue were nine times more likely than others to develop a fast and dangerous heart rhythm known as ventricular arrhythmia.

In patients at risk for these arrhythmias, doctors often implant a heart defibrillator, a small device that delivers an electrical shock to restore cardiac rhythm in case the heart beats too rapidly to pump enough blood.

In a study in this week's journal Circulation, researchers said the MRI may be a safer and more accurate method for determining who needs a defibrillator than current tests measuring blood flow or electrical signaling.

"It avoids the risks of infection that come with surgery, it is noninvasive, there are no catheters, and it is relatively easy to perform," said Dr. Joao Lima, a co-author and associate professor at Johns Hopkins.

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