Scientists at the University of Liverpool identified a method of visualizing the heart’s AV conduction system. Taking rat and rabbit hearts injected with Lugol’s iodine (I2KI) and imaging them under CT, the researchers noted that the fibers that make up the electrical conduction network absorbed less of the contrast agent, making them clearly apparent on the scans.
Dr Jonathan Jarvis, lead author of the study, envisions practical uses for this technique in various research on the heart:
“These new anatomically-detailed images could improve the accuracy of future computer models of the heart and help us understand how normal and abnormal heart rhythms are generated. 3D imaging will give us a more thorough knowledge of the cardiac conduction system, and the way it changes in heart disease.
“Computer models based on these high-fidelity images will help us to understand why the heart rhythm is vulnerable to changes in heart size, blood supply, or scarring after a heart attack. One of the major concerns for surgeons in repairing malformed hearts, for example, is to avoid damage to the tissue that distributes electrical waves. If they had access to 3D images of the conducting tissues in malformed hearts, however, it could be possible to understand where the conducting tissue is likely to be before they operate.”
Press release: Rhythm of heart revealed by 3D X-ray…