Philips unveils new 3D cardiac imaging technology

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Royal Philips Electronics has released the first 3D imaging results obtained with its new imaging technology--Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI).

The technology, which uses the magnetic properties of iron-oxide nanoparticles injected into the bloodstream, has been used in a pre-clinical study to generate real-time images of arterial blood flow and volumetric heart motion, representing a major step in taking MPI from a theoretical concept to an imaging tool to improve diagnosis and therapy planning for diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. The results of the pre-clinical study were published in issue 54 of Physics in Medicine and Biology (2009).

"A novel non-invasive cardiac imaging technology is required to further unravel and characterize the disease processes associated with atherosclerosis, in particular those associated with vulnerable plaque formation which is a major risk factor for stroke and heart attacks," said Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, director of the Mount Sinai Heart Center in New York City.

Philips said its MPI uses the magnetic properties of injected iron-oxide nanoparticles to measure the nanoparticle concentration in the blood. Because the human body contains no naturally occurring magnetic materials visible to MPI, there is no background signal. After injection, the nanoparticles therefore appear as bright signals in the images, from which nanoparticle concentrations can be calculated. By combining high spatial resolution with short image acquisition times (1/50th of a second), MPI can capture concentration changes as the nanoparticles are swept along by the blood stream. This could allow MPI scanners to perform functional cardiovascular measurements in a single scan, which could include measurements of coronary blood supply, myocardial perfusion, as well as the heart's ejection fraction, wall motion and flow speeds.