News | Cardiac Imaging | July 05, 2017

New Handheld Scanner to Give Instant Heart Disease Diagnosis

Technology uses the Doppler effect to read vital signs with one click of a button

New Handheld Scanner to Give Instant Heart Disease Diagnosis

July 5, 2017 — With worldwide cardiovascular deaths at an all-time high, European scientists have developed a new handheld scanner that can read the heart's vital signs like a supermarket barcode reader can scan items at the checkout. This would allow a general practitioner (GP) to diagnose even preclinical patients for the early onset of a disease.

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world today. In 2015 over 17.3 million people, roughly 30 percent of all global deaths, died as a result of cardiovascular conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attacks or strokes.

CVDs can be identified using a number of medical tools, including cardiac biomarkers, cardiac catheterization, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG), Holter monitoring and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

However, because they are complicated or expensive, routine early forecasting of CVD is impossible in large populations at present.

This new diagnostic tool developed by the EU's Horizon 2020 collaboration 'CARDIS', ('CARdiovascular disease Detection with Integrated Silicon Photonics'), can read the heart's vital signs with one click of a button, similar to the way a handheld supermarket scanner can scan barcodes at the checkout.

Employing laser Doppler vibrometry, a technique using photonics technology, the device can pick up vital information about the status of the heart using light, in a fast and inexpensive way.

It works by harnessing the Doppler effect, the phenomenon used to observe changes in pitch of light or sound from a fixed point, and commonly experienced when an ambulance siren passes and changes in tone.

Using the Doppler shift of the reflected light, the scanner builds up a 'vibration map' of the chest and heart area, which can highlight the telltale signs of CVD, such as plaque build-up, arterial stiffness, arterial stenosis or heart dyssyncrony. Project coordinator Mirko de Melis explained:

"Our device employs the latest photonics technology, allowing a user to make measurements of the vibration characteristics of the heart without even touching it.

"A stiff artery creates a faster pulse pressure from the patient's beating heart. By measuring the pulse wave velocity, we can assess the stiffness of the arteries using light and make informed judgments, long before the onset of cardiovascular disease," he said.

Although there are a number of vibration sensors that exist for this purpose, LDV is non-invasive and provides a much higher degree of accuracy in a fraction of the time.

"At present, millions considered to be low or moderate risk are walking around undiagnosed,” said de Melis. "It is our long-term goal to place such a device in the hands of the GP, the first point of contact for the mass population, as part of a routine health examination."

"The screening of potential sufferers, who are in their early 40s, would delay the onset of the condition by 5-10 years. Assuming a sufferer would comply with the health advice given and adopted a change in lifestyle, this device allows the medical professional to halt or even reverse CVD," De Melis said. 

The CARDIS team believe the key to the success of a mass screening program at the GP-patient level is the inexpensive and portable nature of the new laser scanner: "Our device would be cheap, easy to use and extremely effective. With cost of an echocardiographer anything above EUR 100k, and an arterial tonometer at EUR 5,000-EUR 6,000, the CARDIS scanner would be reasonably priced at around EUR 1,500. However it is the potential savings on our health services caused by the early diagnosis and prevention of CVD that will be the most rewarding," De Melis explained.  

While the EU consortium is happy with their demonstration model, CARDIS will be ready to unveil their prototype in summer 2018.

For more information: www.cardis-h2020.eu

Related Content

Videos | Computed Tomography (CT) | July 19, 2019
Quynh Truong, M.D., MPH, associate professor of radio
FDA Approves Bayer's Gadavist Contrast for Cardiac MRI in Adult Coronary Artery Disease Patients
Technology | Contrast Media | July 15, 2019
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Gadavist injection for use in cardiac magnetic resonance...
Mednax National Cardiac Centers of Excellence Program Highlighted at SCCT 2019
News | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 11, 2019
Mednax Inc. and Mednax Radiology Solutions announced that Chief Medical Officer Ricardo C. Cury, M.D., FSCCT, will...
360 Photos | Ultrasound Imaging | July 11, 2019
This 360 degree photo shows a basic, point-of-care cardiac echocardiogram being performed using a smartphone turned i
Achenbach to Receive Inaugural 2019 Stephan Achenbach Pioneer Award in Cardiovascular CT
News | Cardiac Imaging | July 10, 2019
The Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT) will present Stephan Achenbach, M.D., FSCCT with the inaugural...
360 Photos | Ultrasound Imaging | July 09, 2019
A view of a mitral valve on a GE Healthcare Vivid E95 ...
Jonathon Leipsic Awarded 2019 DeHaan Award for Innovation in Cardiology
News | Cardiac Imaging | July 08, 2019
Jonathon A. Leipsic, M.D., FSCCT, is the recipient of the 2019 DeHaan Award for Innovation in Cardiology, announced by...
360 Photos | Ultrasound Imaging | July 08, 2019
This is a 360 degree view of a live cardiac echo demonstration for the Siemens Healthineers Acuson SC2000...
3D Auto RV application image courtesy of Philips Healthcare

3D Auto RV application image courtesy of Philips Healthcare

Technology | Cardiovascular Ultrasound | July 02, 2019
Philips recently announced new advanced automation capabilities on its Epiq CVx and Epiq CVxi cardiac ultrasound...