Michael Leidig
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Wed, 06.03.2013
pte20130306029 Health/Medicine, Science/Technology
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New method developed to diagnose pulmonary hypertension earlier
Researchers are now able to detect early signs of the life-threatening illness

Vienna (pte029/06.03.2013/17:01) - Researchers at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in Graz, Styria, have developed a new method to detect early signs of the life-threatening illness pulmonary hypertension using computer imaging.

Pulmonary hypertension is an increase in the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein, or pulmonary capillaries, together known as the lung vasculature, leading to shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, and other symptoms, all of which are exacerbated by exertion and which can lead to heart failure.

Up until now the diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension which can lead to heart-failure has been a costly and unpleasant ordeal for patients - and was difficult to detect in early stages of the disease.

A cardiac catheter had to be placed and guided through the right ventricle of the heart into the pulmonary artery - a tricky manoeuvre hardly suitable during routine check-ups.

According to the director of the Pulmonology Department at the medical university of Graz Horst Olschewski, a case of pulmonary hypertension can now be detected almost as an 'additional' finding during a check up.

The new diagnosis procedure developed by Horst and Andrea Olschewski is much more pleasant for patients.

The blood flow is recorded in the context of an examination with computer imaging. The new procedure is said to require only a very small extra x-ray dose.

The arteries of the lungs normally transport the blood from the body through the lungs every minute. If the respiratory organ does not receive enough blood because the vessels have contracted, the pressure in the lung-arteries rises.

The heart's right ventricle then fights against this phenomenon by accelerating the rate at which it pumps, which leads to prematurely overburdening the right ventricle, an enlargement of that same ventricle and even an often fatal heart attack.

Medical screening for the early stages of the illness was not possible until these recent scientific findings.

The diagnosis was often only possible at an advanced stage. This is anticipated to change with the new method, allowing ill patients to be treated much earlier.

Further tests will show whether the examination method using cardiac catheterisation can be totally replaced.

The new method using computer imaging is said to be more cost effective and can be applied using less skilled medical staff. The new method has already been patented.

Submitter: newsfox.editorial
Contact: Michael Leidig
Phone: 0043 1 811 40 174