04 Mar

Joseph Sebastian

How do you check the ripeness of your favourite fruits? Often, a simple “push” on the outside of fruit can tell you if it will be sweet as sugar, when the outside is soft, or as sour as vinegar, when the outside is hard. Although not as delectable, our hearts can be considered in the same way. Cardiovascular elasticity provides us with critical information about heart disease and failure, a growing epidemic in Canada that is not curable with existing therapies. But, how can we measure how hard or soft a heart is? Here, in lieu of human hearts, we use three-dimensional heart models that replicate human heart function. Our goal is to develop a novel ultrasound (US) imaging technique that assesses the elasticity of these models in healthy, diseased and post-treated states, analogous to using a “push” to check ripeness of our favourite fruits. This work can potentially impact the development of drugs to treat heart failure, improving the lives of millions of Canadians affected by heart disease.