Supercomputers To Detect Blood Clot In Heart Patients, Here’s How
- Predicting patient's danger of developing blood clot is challenging
- Patients recovering from heart attack are given anticoagulant drugs
- Findings were based on simulations performed using Stampede supercomputers
Houston: Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have discovered a new method to predict people at risk of developing blood clots in the heart, by using a supercomputer to create patient-specific models of the organ.
The critical factor is the degree to which the mitral jet – a stream of blood shot through the mitral valve – penetrates into the left ventricle of the heart, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Ohio State University in the US.
If the jet does not travel deep enough into the ventricle, it can prevent the heart from properly flushing blood from the chamber, potentially leading to clots, strokes and other dangerous consequences.
The findings were based on simulations performed using the Stampede supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Centre in the US and validated using patient data who did and did not experience post-heart attack blood clots.
The metric that characterizes the jet penetration, called the E-wave propagation index (EPI), can be ascertained using standard diagnostic tools and clinical procedures that are currently used to assess patient risk of clot formation, but is much more accurate than current methods.
“The beauty of the index is that it doesn’t require any additional measurements,” said Rajat Mittal, professor of engineering at Johns Hopkins University. “It simply reformulates echocardiogram data into a new metric,” Mittal said.
Predicting when a patient is in danger of developing a blood clot is challenging for physicians.
Patients recovering from a heart attack are frequently given anticoagulant drugs to prevent clotting, but these drugs have adverse side-effects.
Cardiologists currently use the ejection fraction – the percentage of blood flushed from the heart with each beat – as well as a few other factors, to predict which patients are at risk of a future clot.
For healthy individuals, 55 to 70 per cent of the volume of the chamber is ejected out of the left ventricle with every heartbeat.
For those with heart conditions, the ejection fraction can be reduced to as low as 15 per cent and the risk of stagnation rises dramatically.