Novel method for detecting coronary artery disease before heart attack

A large collaborative consortium led by the University of Oulu is developing a method for diagnosing coronary artery disease before a fatal heart attack occurs. The aim is to develop a cardiac imaging method suitable for examining coronary vessels by utilizing the latest X-ray imaging technologies and mathematical reconstruction algorithms. With the new imaging method, the condition of coronary arteries is visualized, and a possible latent coronary artery disease revealed.

The collaborative consortium has received millions of euros of funding in the Tekes Challenge Finland competition for finding commercializable solutions to big problems by combining Finnish top research and corporate research and development work.

Coronary artery disease is one of the worst diseases to burden our society. Half of all heart attacks happen to people with no prior symptoms, and nearly half of them die of their first heart attack. There is presently no cost-efficient and reliable way in basic health care to determine the condition of coronary arteries, so that pre-emptive and necessary treatment could be started early enough. Currently, diagnostics of coronary artery disease requires specialized health care services such as complex and expensive intravenous examinations. With the new cardiac imaging method, more cost-effective alternative examination methods are sought.

The project is carried out in cooperation with various research organizations and companies. It is led by the University of Oulu Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology directed by professor Miika Nieminen. Participating in the project are the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in the University of Helsinki, Department of Radiography and Radiotherapy in the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, and the health technology companies in Oulu: Innomentarium, Detection Technology, and Innokas Medical; and also Kavo Kerr Group Finland, Neagen, and SenSoftia.

The multidisciplinary character and extensive technological know-how of the research consortium guarantee an optimal ecosystem for the development work for an entirely new kind of imaging method.

Last updated: 20.3.2017