A Failing Heart Gets A Hand

This image was made using a specialized computed tomography (CT) scan of a patient’s thorax in 2013. It shows an amazing piece of medical technology called a ventricular assist device

This implanted device was helping a patient with a weakened heart survive while the person waited for transplant. The machine pulls oxygenated blood from the left ventricle and pumps it out through a connection in the aorta, the main artery that distributes blood to the body.

The picture, which won the Wellcome Image Awards this year, was taken to ensure that the device was implanted properly. The blue parts indicate the pump and the white lines are cables connected to it and to an external control unit through a port in the patient’s abdomen. Anders Persson created the image from a series of X-ray slices taken with two different low-radiation energy sources in a process called dual energy CT angiography.

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