3D hearts predict patient survival

16 January 2017        

Category: Research

MRI scanner

New software, developed by our researchers at Imperial College London, can use MRI scans of the heart to accurately predict the prognosis of patients suffering with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

In the future this finding, published in the journal Radiology, may help doctors to identify patients at greatest risk of death earlier and treat them more intensively straight away.

What is pulmonary arterial hypertension?

PAH is thought to affect around 6,500 people in the UK. It is a chronic and debilitating disease that affects the blood vessels in the lungs, leading to heart failure, and leaves sufferers feeling breathless and exhausted. Current treatments only target the symptoms and prognosis remains poor. The only effective cure is a lung, or heart and lung, transplant, which has associated risks and complications.

Once diagnosed with PAH, a person has a 30 per cent chance of dying within three years and the condition affects more women than men.

How does the software work?

The “machine learning”, or artificial intelligence, software automatically analyses moving images of a patient’s heart captured during an MRI scan. It then uses advanced image processing to build a “virtual 3D heart”, which replicates the way over 30,000 points in the heart contract during each beat.

Future breakthroughs

This breakthrough was made possible by your donations. Help us keep funding more research that could lead to cures.