Doctors can now get the clearest ever view inside the human body with a new high-definition body scanner, thereby helping them to spot problems that could cause heart attacks.
The HD body scanner, manufactured by GE Healthcare, generates pictures of diseased arteries in the heart that are twice as clear as older machines.
AdvertisementIt means doctors at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital can identify problems at an early stage, long before patients suffer a heart attack or even develop any symptoms.
"When we started doing the heart research in 2002, we used to struggle to see the blood vessels, let alone see the narrowings within them," Sky News quoted Professor of Radiology Carl Roobottom as saying.
"Now, we have a technique that can see to within a fraction of a millimetre," he added.
In just five seconds, the scanner takes 220 X-rays, each of them a cross-section of the heart.
Computers then turn the raw snapshots into a 3D image.
Doctors can add colour to distinguish between different types of tissue, strip away layers that obscure problem areas, and rotate or flip the image to get the best possible view.
They can even 'fly' through the arteries feeding the heart muscle, some of which are just 1mm wide.
The scanner is also safer for patients-the radiation dose is 20 to 30 times lower than that from machines being used just seven years ago.