Health Life

New computer model improves therapy

Illustration of a digital twin from a human heart. Credit: Plank – Med Uni Graz

Using mathematical image processing, scientists at the BioTechMed-Graz research cooperation have found a way to create digital twins from human hearts. The method opens up completely new possibilities in clinical diagnostics.

Although treatment options are constantly improving, cardiovascular diseases are still one of the most frequent causes of death in Europe. The success of the treatment varies from patient to patient and depends on the individual clinical picture, as Gernot Plank, researcher at the Institute of Biophysics at the Medical University of Graz explains using an example: “For example, pacemaker therapy is not successful in about 30 per cent of cardiac patients who have had a pacemaker implanted for mechanical resynchronization of the heartbeat.”

In order to be able to rule out such interventions in advance, Plank has developed a together with the mathematicians Gundolf Haase and Kristian Bredies from the University of Graz and computer scientist Thomas Pock from the Institute of Computer Vision and Representation at Graz University of Technology, respectively, with which doctors can pre-simulate the optimal therapy and dramatically improve the success of treatment.

Digital one-to-one models

The researchers use diagnostic data from MRI, ECG and other heart examinations of the person to be treated. Imaging algorithms put together a digital image of the patient’s heart from this data material. This customized model ultimately provides a wealth of information that helps to understand the individual clinical picture and to run through various therapeutic scenarios.
Thomas Pock explains the challenge behind it: “To simulate such a heartbeat in the computer, you have to calculate millions of variables. This requires complex mathematical procedures, special algorithms and special hardware that can perform billions of computing actions per second.”

Method is ready for

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Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Adults (MIS-A)

What we know about MIS-A

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a rare but severe complication in children and adolescents infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Since June 2020, there have been several reports of a similar multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults (MIS-A). CDC recently published a number of cases that fit the description of MIS-A. This report shows the way the syndrome appears in adults may be more complicated than in children.

Like children, adults who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can develop symptoms of MIS-A days to weeks after getting sick. MIS-A is a condition where problems can occur in different parts of the body like the heart, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or brain. Adults with MIS-A may have various signs and symptoms including:

  • Fever
  • Low blood pressure
  • Abdominal (gut) pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Chest tightness/pain
  • Feeling very tired

MIS-A can be very serious, so it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible.

What we don’t know about MIS-A

CDC is still learning about MIS-A and how it affects adults, so we do not know why some adults have gotten sick with MIS-A and others have not. We also do not know if adults with certain health conditions are more likely to develop MIS-A. These are among the many questions CDC is working to understand.

What CDC is doing about MIS-A

CDC is working with state, local, and territorial health departments; U.S. and international scientists; healthcare providers; and other partners to learn more about MIS-A. Through these partnerships, we are learning about how to recognize MIS-A in adults, how often it happens, and who is likely to get MIS-A.

All CDC recommendations are based on the best data and science available at the time, and we will