Use the force: biomechanical model helps predict future heart attacks – Physics World

Use the force: biomechanical model helps predict future heart attacks – Physics World

Understanding the forces behind blood clot formation could be the key to improving heart attack prevention methods, according to researchers from University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen in Germany. Their proof-of-concept study, published in eLife, uses patient-specific computer models to examine the forces responsible for coronary plaque rupture. Plaques are fat deposits that can line the heart’s arteries; if a plaque breaks away from the artery wall, it can form a clot and subsequently cause a heart attack. Knowing when and where a plaque might rupture, based on the stresses exerted upon it, could allow physicians to provide life-saving preventive care. “Including such analyses in clinical practice might allow cardiologists to predict a future myocardial infarction [heart attack] by looking – among other factors – at the stress distributions in diseased vessels,” says study author Mathias Burgmaier in a press statement. Coronary plaques consist of a layer of fibrous connective tissue (fibrous cap) covering a lipid-rich necrotic core. It is known that the cap fails when it is subjected to forces higher than its tensile strength. Nevertheless, the disruptive forces …
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