For most people, their first indication of cardiovascular disease occurs when they have a heart attack or a stroke. For too many people it is the last thing they ever experience.
However, a group of researchers at the University of Michigan have taken a scanning fiber endoscope, or SFE, which was originally built to provide early detection of cancer and has turned it to a new purpose, the early detection of arteriosclerosis, according to Geek Wire. The SFE, a fiber optic device with a laser scanning camera, was inserted into the blood vessels of rabbits and into harvested arteries to look for signs of disease that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
As a result the researchers were able to obtain high-resolution images from the insides of arteries that detected the presence of lesions that could later lead to a cardiovascular event. The resulting images are the most detailed yet, picking up potential problems that hitherto had remained hidden.
The technique could be used on people at high risk of developing a heart attack or stroke due to lifestyle choices or family history. It could also be used to find out the cause of a stroke or other event that is not obvious to conventional scans.
As with any other illness, the way to deal with cardiovascular disease is not to have it to start with. If the SFE scan can be developed for a clinical setting, doctors can detect causes of oncoming strokes and heart attacks before they happen and take appropriate action.
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