It has been observed that majority of patients receiving heart transplants do experience organ rejection in some form or the other Even though the rates of survival are high, it has been established that a minuscule percentage will perish within a year of surgery. As of now, majority of clinicians across the globe perform tests for rejection by conducting a biopsy helping in determining suitability and level of immunosuppressive treatments needed to prevent any further rejection.
The invasive procedure mentioned above implies placing a tube in jugular vein for letting surgeons insert biopsy tool into heart, so as to remove samples of the heart tissue. There are evidences of occurrences of serious complications if valve gets damaged or heart is perforated. Patients generally opt for biopsy nearly 12 times in the very 1st year post transplantation. However, this trouble would be soon gone with new diagnostic imaging devices like MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) rendering a safety passage herein, though heart valve repair replacement devices are in place.
Scientists based out of Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (Sydney, Australia) have come up with the new-fangled virtual biopsy designed for detecting any signs of rejection of heart. It is expected to be adopted by the clinicians all over. This novel MRI technique claims to analyse heart oedema levels that are closely related to inflammation of heart. These new developments would be leading to major enhancements in care for hordes of heart transplant patients across the globe.
What’s the Study All About?
As a matter of study, 40 heart transplant patients were randomly subject to either conventional biopsy or new MRI technique. The results say that new test’s effectiveness was just the same as detection of rejection. The study’s secondary findings state that in spite of similarities regarding immunosuppression requirements, mortality rates, and kidney function, there was a marked decrease in infection rates and hospitalization for the ones undergoing MRI procedure against those experiencing biopsy. Moreover, merely 6% of patients exposed to new MRI technique actually required a biopsy for clarification. The larger picture ought to be looked at in future.
The team is now looking forward to building multi-centre trial for widening applicability of findings and also incorporating pediatric transplant recipients. It is also into development of new genetic testing methods to be used with MRI. This is, in turn, expected to detect symptoms of rejection through identification of genetic signals of the donor-oriented inflammation in bloodstream.
As per Andrew Jabbour, associate professor of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, the new virtual biopsy does consume less time, is more cost-effective, and non-invasive, doesn’t make use of radiation/contrast agents, and patients do prefer it.
Heart ailments have always been a matter of grave concern. With new MRI techniques being incorporated, many things in the world of cardiology are expected to change for good. Along with ease in diagnosis, the reduction in downtime would be helping in resorting to treatments quite soon.
The future is expected to unfold on a much interesting note.