New way to detect artery damage

Researchers have developed a new way to non-invasively peer into a person's arteries, detect inflammation and possibly ward off heart disease before it becomes too severe to treat, a study found.

For decades, doctors have relied on CT scans and angiograms to detect coronary artery disease, a leading cause of heart attack.

Often, patients with narrowed coronary arteries find out only when their condition is severe. Plus, the narrowing of the arteries is not always a signal of an approaching heart attack.

Instead, inflammation is the real culprit when it comes to triggering a blockage in an artery that leads to heart attack, said researcher Keith Channon, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Oxford University.

"Until now, there has been no way to detect inflammation in the coronary arteries," he told reporters ahead of the release of the paper in the journal Science Translational Medicine. "And this is where our new research findings come in." - REUTERS