How MRI could revolutionise heart failure diagnosis

Published by  News archive

On 5th May 2022

A healthcare professional administers an MRI scan.
Getty images

Using MRI scans to detect heart failure could revolutionise how the condition is diagnosed, thanks to new research from the University of East Anglia and the University of Sheffield.

Until now, the best way of diagnosing heart failure has been an invasive assessment, but it carries risks for patients. Non-invasive echocardiogram, which is based on ultrasound, are usually used instead, but they are wrong in up to 50 per cent of cases.

A new study published today shows how magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is superior to Echocardiography for diagnosing heart failure, as well as being a powerful tool to predict patient outcomes, including death.

Lead researcher Dr Pankaj Garg, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Heart failure is a dreadful condition resulting from rising pressures inside the heart. The best method to diagnose heart failure is by invasive assessment, which is not preferred as it has risks.

“An echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart, is usually used to predict the pressure in the heart. However, it is not very accurate.

“We wanted to find out if MRI scans might offer a better alternative.”

The research team studied 835 patients who received an invasive assessment and a heart MRI on the same day from the ASPIRE registry - a database of patients assessed at the Sheffield Pulmonary Vascular Disease Unit.

Dr Garg said: “We investigated if heart MRI can predict invasively measured left ventricular filling pressure.

“Once we had identified the key parameters - left atrial volume and left ventricular mass - we created an equation to non-invasively derive the pressure in the heart.

“This simple equation can be applied in any centre around the world which does heart MRI.

“We also tested the equation in a separate group of patients and demonstrated its reliability.

“We showed that heart MRI is superior to Echocardiography in predicting pressure inside the heart. Almost 71 per cent of patients who had wrongly measured pressures by Echocardiography had correct pressures by heart MRI.

“These findings will reduce the need for invasive assessment. This is not only cost-effective but also reduces risks to patients, as a heart MRI scan is a completely non-invasive test. 

“We also showed that the results from heart MRIs were powerful tools to predict whether a patient would live or die.

“This research was not possible without technical expertise at Norwich and Sheffield and also the rich haemodynamic data from the ASPIRE registry,” added Dr Garg.

The study was funded by research grants from the Wellcome Trust and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the research partner of the NHS, public health and social care.

Senior author Dr Andy Swift, the from University of Sheffield and a Consultant Radiologist, said: “This simple diagnostic equation is very clinically useful and will help doctors predict the pressure in the heart and diagnose heart failure”

“Testing the use of the equation at other hospitals is the next step to assess the benefit to patients and the reduced need for invasive tests’

 ‘Cardiac Magnetic Resonance identifies Raised Left Ventricular Filling Pressure: Prognostic Implications’ is published in the European Heart Journal on May 5, 2022.

Latest News

Hanya Yanagihara. She is wearing a black top and necklaces.
02 Feb 2023

Global literary icon Hanya Yanagihara set to make rare UK appearance at UEA Live

Hanya Yanagihara, author of the million-copy bestseller A Little Life, will be welcomed to the UEA campus in March to discuss her latest novel success – To...

Read more >
The RRS Sir David Attenborough in the Arctic.
01 Feb 2023

RRS Sir David Attenborough begins polar science trials in Antarctica

Researchers from the University of East Anglia have joined the UK’s new polar ship RRS Sir David Attenborough as it begins its polar science trials in Antarctica...

Read more >
A forest fire in the Amazon rainforest.
27 Jan 2023

Human activity has degraded more than a third of remaining Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest has been degraded by a much greater extent than scientists previously believed, according to a new study.

Read more >
A child learning to write the alphabet.
27 Jan 2023

Poor literacy linked to worse mental health worldwide, study shows

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
A child learning to write the alphabet.
27 Jan 2023

Poor literacy linked to worse mental health worldwide, study shows

Read more >
A Vitamin D tablet being held up to the sun.
26 Jan 2023

80-year-old medical mystery that caused baby deaths solved

Researchers at the University of East Anglia have solved an 80-year-old medical mystery that causes kidney damage in children and can be fatal in babies.

Read more >
A loudspeaker at a protest.
23 Jan 2023

There may be more power in the hand of the worker than previously thought

Employers who disproportionately punish striking workers may be acting unlawfully, according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Read more >
Two bottles of hormones held in a gloved hand.
14 Jan 2023

HRT could ward off Alzheimer’s among at-risk women

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) could help prevent Alzheimer’s Dementia among women at risk of developing the disease – according to University of East Anglia...

Read more >
Photo of Heidi Crisp
01 Jan 2023

HSC apprentice shortlisted for finalist in prestigious awards

Occupational therapist apprentice, Heidi Crisp has been shortlisted as one of three finalist  for Apprentice of the Year in the Norfolk Apprenticeship Awards. 

Read more >
Andy Cammidge
24 Jan 2023

New research grant will investigate novel organic materials

Prof Andy Cammidge (CHE) and colleagues have been awarded £800k from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to investigate the synthesis of new...

Read more >
James Bevan presenting at UEA. He is wearing glasses, a black jacket and grey trousers.
24 Jan 2023

UEA praised for 'outstanding' work on climate research

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, praised UEA’s outstanding work on climate research and highlighted the need to focus on climate...

Read more >