A beating heart frozen in time

3 Jul

by Carolyn Thomas       @HeartSisters

This amazing image is this year’s winner of the British Heart Foundation’s “Reflections of Research” medical image competition, an annual celebration of the U.K. charity’s groundbreaking research into cardiovascular diseases. This is not a painting – it’s a real image of the blood flowing within an adult heart, frozen in time. 

The winning image, titled Go With the Flow, was by Dr. Victoria Stoll, a BHF-funded researcher working at the University of Oxford. One of the four competition judges this year, wildlife photographer Andrew Rouse, explained:

“This winning image of a human heart is simply beautiful. It’s both amazingly abstract and instantly recognizable. My 11-month old daughter is fascinated by it, and she is perhaps the best judge of all, showing that this image is simple yet also very striking, which is what a good photograph should be!”

By using four dimensional cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Dr. Stoll’s image captures blood flowing within the main pumping chambers – the ventricles – of the heart and the vessels leaving the heart. The blue flow is blood that lacks oxygen and is traveling to the lungs to be re-oxygenated. The red flow is blood that has been through the lungs, received oxygen, and is now ready to be pumped around the entire body.

Dr. Stoll is using this type of imaging to look at the blood flow in four dimensions within the hearts of people with heart failure, those whose hearts are not pumping effectively. She has already found that in people with severe heart failure, the blood flows around the heart in a more disordered and disrupted pattern than it does in those whose hearts are pumping as they should.

More than one quarter of all deaths recorded in Britain are caused by cardiovascular disease. The BHF currently funds £70 million of research into heart and circulatory diseases at the University of Oxford, made possible by the generosity of people across the U.K.

Find out what else the British Heart Foundation is up to – such as this fascinating interactive infographic from the BHF called What’s it like to be a woman with heart disease?

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 1.16.29 PM

© 2016 British Heart Foundation

Q: What was your first impression when you saw this winning image of a heart?

See also:

 

 

 

8 Responses to “A beating heart frozen in time”

  1. Curious to the Max July 4, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

    Wondrous – what is both seen and unseen, known and unknown, the miracle of our body and being.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas July 4, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

      Wondrous indeed, Judy-Judith! Just imagine… this is happening inside our hearts even as we gaze at this image…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brenda Whitley July 3, 2016 at 6:18 am #

    Thank you for this informative piece, Beating Heart, Carolyn. I have been enjoying and learning from your excellent website Heart Sisters. I learn so much from you and your readers.

    I live in Northern Ireland and agree totally with what you said in your article. It’s a magnificent picture, I would love to have it on my wall. Also on other points raised: I too wait too long to take my nitro spray, thinking it will go away or react like the lady in the video, doing everything but dialing the ambulance.

    I am on a urgent waiting list for a fourth stent and could very easily slip into depression. I have great friends and family who keep me active, have changed my diet to more fruit and vegs, I have a great local doctor who listens to me and a wonderful cardiologist who assures me I’m doing well. I am optimistic most of the time and do my best to keep the sunny side out.

    Thank you again for Heart Sisters, I feel I’m not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas July 3, 2016 at 6:41 am #

      Hello from Canada, Brenda and thanks so much for your kind words about my blog. You are definitely NOT alone – there are many of us out here. I hope you don’t have to wait much longer for your stent (waiting is THE WORST!) Best of luck to you – and keep that sunny side out!

      Like

  3. Anne Stohrer July 3, 2016 at 5:23 am #

    Absolutely beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Carolyn Thomas July 3, 2016 at 5:26 am #

      Thanks Dr. Anne – it certainly is!

      Like

      • Mirjami July 3, 2016 at 7:11 am #

        Hello Carolyn,

        A wonderful picture. I thought of two dancing girls.

        Liked by 1 person

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