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A method is developed of how to use fingers of heart failure patients to determine their state

Members of several medical and research institutions in Moscow together with colleagues from Germany presented a new way to determine severity of heart failure in patients. To develop the method the scientists examined tissues of the hand. The corresponding scientific article is published in the Journal of Biophotonics.
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The method is based on two-photon tomography of the perivascular space — the zone between the capillaries and adjacent tissues. The width of the space is related to the amount of intercellular fluid, the excess of which leads to oedema. The more intense the swelling is, the higher the severity of heart failure. There have been no reliable quantitative methods to determine the level of severity before.

All subjects underwent echocardiography to evaluate how well the heart is functioning and videocapillaroscopy of the vessels of the nail bed of the fingers on the left arm. It was found that the perivascular zone is wider in the participants of the experiment with heart failure than in the healthy ones. The size of the perivascular space correlated with the degree of swelling and thickness of the layer of living cells of the epidermis — the surface layer of skin.

The method proposed by Russian and German scientists is painless and non-invasive — that is, the procedure does not discomfort patients.

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