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Making heart surgery intervention safer

EUREKA project E! 2654 VIACORTIS has developed new techniques to monitor the viability of heart tissue during heart surgery, so that cardiac surgeons have a real-time, comprehensive indication of how the heart is reacting.

A current trend in cardiac surgical practice is to work with an actively beating heart, rather than the more usual suppression of heart activity by low temperature. But carrying out surgical manipulation on a beating heart can lead to other problems if blood supply to the heart tissue itself is obstructed.

Three simultaneous techniques

The VIACORTIS project has developed three techniques which can be used side by side to give detailed information on the way the heart tissue is coping, so that the surgeon has early warning signals if it is becoming too stressed. Project coordinator Dr Algimantas Krisciukaitis of the Kaunas University of Medicine, Lithuania, explains: "The novelty of our method is that we developed quantitative criteria to measure heart damage. We can measure the electrical potential of the heart muscle, compare it at the same time with the biochemical activity of the tissue, and map its local heat pattern." These three parameters together reveal early and small changes in the functional state of the heart tissue, and their exact location. This gives vital information to the surgeon on the extent of tissue damage and the time he has available to complete the procedure.

A Lithuanian-led project, VIACORTIS brought together the Biomedical Research Institute and the Heart Centre of Kaunas University, plus the Laser Research Centre of Vilnius University and Elinta Uab, a small company with expertise in multi-channel analysis of biological signals. The German partner was the Free University of Berlin's Institute for Medical Physics and Laser Medicine, which developed the equipment to measure fluorescence as an indicator of biochemical activity. The German Institute also worked closely wit
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Contact: Catherine Shiels
catherine.shiels@es.eureka.be
322-777-0969
EUREKA
7-Aug-2006


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