Magnetocardiography

Non-invasive diagnostic methods that are sensitive but also specific enough to identify subjects with very early stages of heart disease would be an important addition to the technologies currently available. Magnetocardiography (MCG) is a very sensitive method for detecting cardiac bioelectrical activity non-invasively by an array of super-sensitive magnetic field sensors (superconductor sensors). It is one of the most promising applications of superconducting technology, although its clinical use have been somewhat limited, partly due to the lack of reliable hardware and inconclusive data interpretation, and partly due to the absence of clinically validated analysis procedures.

TCSUH Magnetocardiography Project

Our major goal was aimed at evaluation of the potential benefits of magnetic imaging of the heart and to provide the basis for understanding the factors that govern the spatio-temporal resolution of Superconducting Quantum Interference Device – SQUID images in biomagnetic studies on adult cardiac ischemia. The demonstration that this technology can be used to address an important clinical problem will provide the impetus for using related technologies to develop novel biomedical sensors and non-invasive diagnostic methods, spur development of the research infrastructure needed to support new or emerging related areas of superconducting technology.

Our Approach

At Biomagnetic Imaging Laboratory we focused on non-invasive mapping of weak biomagnetic signals around the thorax in unshielded hospital environment. We investigated various factors that determine sufficient signal-to-noise ratio and spatio-temporal signal resolution for practical clinical applications. We were engaged in exploring, developing and implementing innovative physical and mathematical formulations, and algorithms for analysis of clinical magnetocardiogram data, based on patient data recorded both at rest and under conditions of controlled cardiac stress (stress magnetocardiography), and validated by comparison with a “gold standard” for functional cardiac pathology such as SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) to assess MCG sensitivity and specificity.

Our multidisciplinary research was aimed at developing clinically viable diagnostic methods, based on fast detection, acquisition, processing and visualization of cardiac magnetic signal, primarily focusing on how to process and map MCG data into clinically useful representations, and assessing the extent, and severity of coronary heart disease both qualitatively, and quantitatively.

Our Collaborators

Research was conducted both at TCSUH and at a dedicated research facility located in the Methodist Hospital. Our external faculty collaborators: Addison A. Taylor, M.D., Ph.D (Baylor College of Medicine).

Project Status
This project is currently inactive

4 Comments to “Magnetocardiography”

  1. Sagit Koren says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I would like to know some more information about the MCG.
    Is it currently in use in hospitals for patient care?
    I would appreciate further contact on this matter.

    Regards,
    Sagit Koren

    • Audrius Brazdeikis says:

      Dear Mr. Koren, thanks for your question. There are several hospitals that regularly use adult MCG in various clinical studies. It would be very useful to compile such a list and post it online.

  2. we have an active programme on Magnetocardiography. It would be of interest for us to know why your programme is not currently active.

    ‘if you have interest in reviving, we can discuss collaborations– Radhakrishnan

    • Audrius Brazdeikis says:

      Dear Dr. Radhakrishnan, Magnetocardiography is a very interesting field of research. However, in a clinical setting it directly competes with other deeply entrenched clinical modalities for adult heart diagnostics. In the US, perfusion imaging by SPECT is considered as the gold standard for detection of ischemic or viable myocardium. Other important issue that needs to be considered for clinical adoption of any new technology is the medical insurance and reimbursement environment. Hospitals must weight the benefits and costs associated with acquisition of new technology. The healthcare reimbursement system in the US clearly favors entrenched clinical modalities which lead to difficulties in the clinical adoption of some new technologies. Finally, MCG community and some start up companies, in my mind, made many fundamental mistakes in marketing this technology by comparing MCG to ECG. Situation is very different with fetal MCG – simply there are no other competing technologies for accurate beat-to-beat diagnostics of fetal heart activity.

      We are always open to collaborations in any field of research.

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