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University of Leeds develops innovative heart scanner

29th January 2010

A new cardiac scanner being developed at the University of Leeds will boost the chances of heart conditions being diagnosed.

The innovative portable magnetometer is more sensitive than current diagnostic techniques such as ultrasound or electrocardiogram monitors and is expected to allow cardiovascular problems to be spotted earlier.

'Early detection of heart conditions improves the prospects for successful treatment. This system will also quickly identify people who need immediate treatment,' commented Professor Ben Varcoe, who is leading the research team.

He also explained that the new magnetometer combines technologies from atomic and medical physics, making it so sensitive that it can detect heart problems in foetuses.

Professor Varcoe added that the development allows people to be scanned while clothed, which will relieve pressure on NHS waiting lists by speeding up examinations, and can be taken to patients' homes to ease strain on hospital facilities.

Last month, University of Leeds research studied how blood clots form in the hope of developing better-targeted drugs to help people at risk of heart attacks or strokes.

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