Delayed-enhancement MRI may predict, prevent strokes

Washington, Feb 09 (ANI): Researchers have found that delayed-enhancement magnetic resonance imaging (DE-MRI) holds promise for predicting the risks of strokes.

The discovery was made by researchers at the University of Utah's Comprehensive Arrhythmia and Research Management (CARMA) Center.

The study included 387 patients who were treated for atrial fibrillation (AF) at either the University of Utah (Salt Lake City) or Clinical Center Coburg (Coburg, Germany). Individuals with AF, a little known heart rhythm disorder, are two to seven times more likely to suffer a stroke than the general population.

The purpose of the study was to determine if there was an association between an AF patient's heart damage (for example, left atrial [LA] fibrosis), which was detected using DE-MRI, and commonly used markers for the risk of stroke, specifically the CHADS2 index.

Although further prospective studies are needed, the preliminary results indicate that DE-MRI-based detection of LA fibrosis is independently associated with prior history of strokes. The findings also provide preliminary evidence that the physiological features of the LA could be used, in addition to clinical features, when identifying stroke risk in patients.

"We believe this method can be a valuable tool for clinicians to use in conjunction with the CHADS2 index for risk analysis and decisions about anticoagulation medications when treating AF patients," said Nassir Marrouche, associate professor of cardiology and executive director of the CARMA Center and Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratories, for the University of Utah's Division of Cardiology.

The study will be published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. (ANI)

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