Heart failure is a major public health problem in developed countries. There is a poor prognosis in patients with heart failure. Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction is one of the important underlying mechanisms, to a large extent caused by increased stiffness of the heart.
Currently, there is no accurate non-invasive method for early diagnosis of heart failure and there is no method of monitoring the therapy.
This research proposes a method for early diagnosis of stiffening of the heart, which employs non-invasive ultrasound imaging and allows early identification of (patients at risk of developing) heart failure. The new method is based on the natural shear waves in the heart muscle, which find their origin in the natural “noise-like” mechanical excitations caused by the beating heart, flowing blood, breathing, etc. The propagation velocity of the resulting natural shear waves is dependent on the local stiffness of the heart muscle. The determination of this propagation velocity and the corresponding stiffness will be a breakthrough in cardiac ultrasonic diagnosis.
Effective treatment will result in significant reduction of the costs, leading to an expected saving of 80 M€ annually.