New measurement method pictures accurately a ‘female’ heart

catharina hospital
Photo credit: Catharina Ziekenhuis/Studio040

The researchers at the Catharina Heart and Vascular Center have developed a measurement method. They have done this together with the Eindhoven University of Technology.

This method analyzes the capillaries of the heart. It measures blood flow and resistance in these smallest capillaries. An abnormal resistance reflects the condition of these capillaries. This helps cardiologists to make a clearer diagnosis. Until recently, the studies used for this purpose were not comprehensive. In popular speech, we call the disease of the capillaries of the heart the “woman’s heart.

Danielle Keulards, a researcher at the Catharina Hospital, obtained her doctorate on this new measurement method at TU/e last week. Several large heart centers in the Netherlands and abroad are using the method she developed.

Capillaries in the heart
The ‘female heart’ is in the spotlight. In recent years, the cardiological world has recognized that the clogging of the larger coronary arteries is not the only cause of chest pain. Increased resistance in the capillaries in the heart also causes chest pain. We term it as microvascular suffering. “This is often referred to as ‘the female heart’,” Keulards clarifies, “because more women suffer from this.”

Treating with medication
Yet some nuance is needed; although the capillary disease is slightly more common in women, men can also suffer from it. In the study, about 40% were men. Keulards: “Fortunately, the microvascular disease has a much better prognosis than clogging of the large coronary arteries. We can treat the patients with medication to reduce the symptoms. However, it is important to take misunderstood chest pain seriously, both in women and men. We need to take measurements of the capillaries, if necessary.”

Source: Catharina Ziekenhuis

Translation: Chaitali Sengupta. She also gives online INBURGERING classes.

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