Blood Clots Made Visible

This is more medical goodnews.  The medical profession whenconfronted with pains of the chest or post operative issues is always jugglingwith a clot risk which is always dangerous except the intervention of using thinnersmay be just as risky.

Now we have a simple and safeprocedure that allows us to image the problem and possibly begin thehealing.  Perhaps while they are at itthey could also identify and properly image the plaques themselves that so farhas never been imaged properly in diagnostic work.

As a recovered heart attackvictim, I for one know the real limits of current technology.  It is much better but we still do not map theproblem and we need to do that.  Besides,a lack of pain receptors in side the body cavity ends up providing conflictinginformation to the doctor.  A greatexample, prior to my own attack I was asymptomatic except for recurrent andirresolvable heart burn.   An imaging runcould well have discovered the problem.

Today we merely know ninetypercent of all men will autopsy with heart disease by age sixty.  

Blood clots made visible by nanoparticles

12:49 February 4, 2011

A nanoparticle-based process allows blood clots to show up on a newtype of CT scan (Image: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.)

Every year, millions of people come into emergency rooms complaining ofchest pains, yet those pains are only sometimes due to heart attacks.Unfortunately in many of those cases, the only way to be sure of what’s goingon is to admit the patient for an overnight stay, and administer time-consumingand costly tests. Now, however, a new procedure could reveal the presence andlocation of a blood clot within hours. It’s made possible by the injection ofnanoparticles, each containing a million atoms of bismuth – a toxic heavymetal.

The particles were developed by Dr. Dipanjan Pan, at the Washington UniversitySchool of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.

He used bismuth because it shows up on a spectral CT scanner, which isitself a new type of technology. Whereas regular CT scanners only provide blackand white images, spectral scanners use the entire spectrum of the X-ray beamto differentiate objects, and display metals (such as bismuth) in color.

Injecting a straight-up shot of toxic heavy metals into a patient’sbloodstream would have dire consequences. To keep the nanoparticles harmless,they were created from a compound in which bismuth atoms were attached to fattyacid chains that won’t come apart in the body. This compound was dissolved in adetergent, which was then combined with phospholipids – a key component of cellmembranes. Like oil droplets in vinegar, the nanoparticles proceeded toself-assemble, with the bismuth compound at the core and a phospholipidmembrane on the outside. Trials on mice showed that the body was able torelease the bismuth from within the membrane, in a safe form.

Pan also added a molecule to the nanoparticles’ surface that isattracted to fibrin, a protein that is found in blood clots but not elsewherein the vascular system. That molecule draws the particles to blood clots, wherethe bismuth shows up as a color such as green or yellow on a spectral CT scanimage.

Not only could the technology be used to locate blood clots, but itcould possibly even treat their cause – ruptures in artery walls. If thenanoparticles contained some sort of healing agent, then once they attached tothe fibrin in a blood clot, they could set about sealing any weak spots.

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