Ann Conkle
Apr 26, 2012

3D X-ray reveals fibers that control heart rhythm

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a new X-ray technique to identify tissue fibers in the heart that ensure the muscle beats regularly. A beating heart is the coordinated action of the muscle tissue, that pumps the blood, and the conducting tissue, which distributes an electrical wave to trigger every heartbeat. Until now scientists have been unable to produce high resolution 3D images of the conducting tissue. The team at Liverpool used a micro-CT scanner to image hearts treated with iodine to highlight different parts of the tissue. They found that the conducting regions absorbed less iodine than the muscle tissue, allowing scientists to clearly identify the areas that produce electrical activity on the resulting 3D image. Dr. Jonathan Jarvis, from the University's Institute of Aging and Chronic Disease, said, "3D imaging will give us a more thorough knowledge of the cardiac conduction system, and the way it changes in heart disease.”