Thursday, January 28, 2010

Breakthrough heart scanner will allow earlier diagnosis (UK)

"An innovative cardiac scanner being developed at the University of Leeds will dramatically improve the process of diagnosing heart conditions. The portable magnetometer is being developed with the help of funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Due to its unprecedented sensitivity to magnetic fluctuations, the device will be able to detect a number of conditions, including heart problems in foetuses, earlier than currently available diagnostic techniques such as ultrasound, ECG (electrocardiogram) and existing cardiac magnetometers. It will also be smaller, simpler to operate, able to gather more information and significantly cheaper than other devices currently available. Another key benefit is that, for the first time, skilled nurses as well as doctors will be able to carry out heart scans, helping to relieve pressure on hospital waiting lists. The device will also function through clothes, cutting the time needed to perform scans and removing the need for patients to undress for an examination. It could also be taken out to a patient's home, leading to a reduction in the use of hospital facilities"

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