The study find that The University of Texas at Arlington has found that blood vessels within bone marrow may progressively convert into bone with advancing age. Examination of these vessels by Rhonda Prisby, associate professor of kinesiology in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation; led to the discovery of bone-like particles in the peripheral circulation. Her findings have recently been published in the journal Microcirculation and suggest that ossified particles may contribute to diseases such as vascular calcification; heart attack; stroke and inadequate blood supply to the limbs.

Blood Vessels Turning

“By examining seemingly unrelated images and linking the details of them together; I was able to posit the presence of bone-like particles in the blood,” Prisby said “In fact; some of the ossified particles are large enough to clog the smallest blood vessels in the vascular tree.” Approximately 610,000 people die each year from a heart disease-related event, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States;but  according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vascular calcification is a common characteristic and risk factor for morbidity and mortality, Prisby said. These bone-like particles are potentially more dangerous because of their sharp edges. “Some of the ossified particles have sharp tips and edges that could damage the lining of blood vessels,” she said. “This damage could initiate events leading to atherosclerosis (build-up of plaque), which can restrict blood flow over time.”

Risk factor for morbidity

The discovery of these bone-like particles could help physicians detect and treat potentially life-threatening conditions. “When looking for etiologies related to vascular calcification, heart attack and/or stroke, perhaps we should consider if and how ossified particles contribute to these diseases;” Prisby said. “My lab will examine these possibilities.”

Myocardial infarction (MI or AMI for acute myocardial infarction), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart is interrupted causing some heart cells to die. This is most commonly due to occlusion (blockage) of a coronary artery following the rupture of a vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque; which is an unstable collection of lipids (like cholesterol) and white blood cells (especially macrophages) in the wall of an artery.

The resulting ischemia (restriction in blood supply) and oxygen shortage; if left untreated for a sufficient period of time; can cause damage and / or death (infarction) of heart muscle tissue (myocardium). Classical symptoms of acute myocardial infarction include sudden chest pain (typically radiating to the left arm or left side of the neck); shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, palpitations; sweating, and anxiety (often described as a sense of impending doom). Women may experience fewer typical symptoms than men, most commonly shortness of breath, weakness, a feeling of indigestion, and fatigue.