About once a second, blood pours into our heart at one end, and is squeezed out at the other. The precise path each drop of blood takes as it sloshes through the compartments reveals a lot about how the heart is working. Faulty hearts often house unusual blood flow patterns. But with flesh and bones in the way, watching this flow is not straightforward. Scientists can record the movement using Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, and visualising the data can give an instant impression of the blood’s movement. Following the paths of virtual particles in the blood reveals patterns of movement (left panels in videos). While a new technique, called volume tracking, displays the overall volume and surface of the body of liquid (right panels). When combined (final clip), the visualisations give doctors a window on the heart, and could be used in early diagnosis of heart disease.
Written by Anthony Lewis
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