Academics & Research

Heart disease lecture pumps up new screening device

UH and other contributors invented a new heart disease screening device that offers a less invasive procedure, but still an effective way to locate plaque build up in the heart and surrounding arteries.

Heart disease is a growing epidemic — it is predicted that by the year 2020 more than 70 percent of deaths will be from heart related illnesses that could have been prevented, said Ioannis Kakadiaris, in a lecture Tuesday evening.

Kakadiaris spoke about how cardiovascular imaging data helps to improve and prevent future cases of heart failure, a condition that affects 5.4 million people globally.

“1.4 million people will die from an unpredicted heart attack,” Kakadiaris said. “We came up with a new asymptotic screening to help prevent future events.”

Kakadiaris created the computer program for the screening device, called Cardiovascular Informatics, which can check a patient’s heart for inflamed and active plaque, which are the two leading causes of heart attacks.

“It’s a myth to think that this can only occur to obese individuals, many lean people have lots of fat surrounding their hearts, which is plaque build up,” Kakadiaris said.

The goal behind this innovative testing method is to develop the least invasive screening possible that allows doctors to collect data and detect vulnerable plaque and calcium build up, so they can monitor its progress and prevent future complications, Kakadiaris said.

Some of the students in attendance said the lecture made them excited about their future careers.

“It’s very inspiring for students who want to go into medical and research fields,” said biology freshman Sadia Tasnim. “Having speakers telling us about their research helps give us a starting point on where we should go and start ours.”

There are a variety of tests and methods that predict heart diseases, but a more effective treatment is to educate ourselves and the people around us, Kakadiaris said.

“We need to educate society about preventing heart attacks,” Kakadiaris said. “Will you join us?”

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