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Fwd: IIT-Madras comes up with quick route to keep heart disease at bay

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  • Thiagarajan Arunachalam
    IIT-Madras comes up with quick route to keep heart disease at bay
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 10, 2013
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      IIT-Madras comes up with quick route to keep heart disease at bay
      CHENNAI: A two-minute procedure could well save your heart without scarring your wallet.

      At a time when experts are trying to make technology affordable to the growing number of people suffering from cardio-vascular disease, a researcher at IIT-Madras has developed an automated device to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases. 

      The device, which costs less than a lakh, non-invasively measures the stiffness of blood vessels in a matter of seconds. The device, ARTSENS (Arterial Stiffness Evaluation for Non-invasive Screening), uses an ultrasound probe to send high frequency sound waves into the body. The echoes are picked up and analysed by a system that automatically identifies the artery anatomy and measures the elasticity of the blood vessel walls. 

      "Several factors such as age and lifestyle diseases affect the blood vessels, ultimately resulting in acute vascular diseases that affect the heart or brain. Early intervention using the device can prevent premature vascular events," said Dr Jayaraj Joseph, who headed the project team at the Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre (HTIC) of IIT-M. 

      A healthy person's arteries are elastic, and expand and contract with every heartbeat. Loss of elasticity, or arterial stiffness, indicates vascular injury, which happens with age. This alters blood flow and can lead to blocks in arteries and heart disease. Close to 10% of the population suffers from cardiovascular disease, which accounts for half of all deaths from non-communicable disease, according to Cardiological Society of India. 

      ARTSENS' developers say the device has an edge over existing equipment as it is cheaper, and easy and quick to use. "We have gadgets to check the stiffness of the blood vessel, but the procedures are laborious, and experts are needed to interpret the images. With this device, everything is automated and, as no imaging is involved, anyone can read the result," said Joseph. 

      Doctors say the device will enable detection of arterial stiffness at an early stage. "We can prevent premature vascular problems that could cause mortality in the productive years of a person's life and diseases can be managed more aggressively," said Dr S Thanikachalam, director of Cardiac Care Centre at Sri Ramachandra University, where the device was tested. 

      Doctors say the device will come most in handy for those in the public health sector where mass screening is undertaken. "Crores of money is spent on imported equipment. Since the indigenous device costs less than a lakh, it can be used in all the government hospitals, and will aid in quick assessment of vascular health in the population at large," said Dr Raja Venkathesh, head of the cardio thoracic department at the government general hospital. 

      A prototype of the device has been tested at MediScan Systems, Thambiran Heart and Vascular Institute and Sri Ramachandra University over the past six months. "Over the next year, we plan to validate it in multiple centres across the country before making it commercial," said Dr Mohanasankar Sivaprakasam, head of HTIC. 


      K Venkatachari

      PP - Probus Club of Chennai,

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