Medical Research Council - Clinical Services Centre

Creative Hearts
13 March 2012

Creative Hearts

A breathtaking array of colours, high-tech scanning techniques and the human heart have inspired this Klimt-esque collage. The artwork comprises hundreds of technicolour images of sections through the heart, produced using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI uses radio waves, magnets and a computer to create pictures of organs and tissues (scans). It helps doctors assess damage to heart tissue following a heart attack. To pinpoint the damage more accurately, a technique called T1 mapping assigns a value and corresponding colour to every part of the tissue according to its state of health. Until now, compiling a T1 map meant patients holding their breath for long periods during the scan (keeping organs as still as possible for a clearer picture). But, thinking creatively, the scientists behind this artwork devised a way to minimise the time required to capture the T1 map data, removing the need to take the patient’s breath away.

Written by Caroline Cross

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