Researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that healthy men and women have different characteristics of blood flow to the heart. The corresponding article was published in the journal Radiology: Cardiothoracic Imaging.
Differences in the hearts of men and women have been known for a long time. For example, women's hearts are smaller on average and beat faster than men's. However, much less is known about the flow of blood through the heart of people of different genders. In a new work, American scientists analyzed this and came to interesting conclusions.
In their work, the researchers used a sophisticated imaging technique called 4D-flow MRI to examine gender differences in the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber. The authors obtained various blood flow parameters from MRI scans taken from 20 men and 19 women and correlated them with cardiac function.
It turned out that there are some significant differences between the sexes. Kinetic energy, which is one of the indicators of energy expenditure during contraction and filling of the heart, was significantly higher in the left ventricles of men. The vorticity - the number of areas of the rotating flow that form at different points in the cardiac cycle - was higher in women, as was the voltage that determines the function of the left ventricle.
The authors of the work noted that the results of their study have a number of potential applications, including improving understanding of why the hearts of men and women respond differently to physiological stress and disease. The results also add information that may one day improve the clinical assessment of this organ.
Scientists are currently taking measurements on patients with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to serious complications. They hope that 4D-flow MRI will help detect patterns and relationships in the atria similar to those already found in the ventricles.
“The overall goal of our work is to move from qualitative MRI to more quantitative,” says David Rutkowski, lead author of the study, at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. "Getting information about blood flow and blood velocity is just another indicator that will help make MRI more quantitative."
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