Improvement of early MRI-based diagnostics of cardiomyopathies in high-risk populations

heart clinical diagnostics MRI / magnetic resonance imaging

dr. N.H.J. Prakken
G.J.H. Snel

Nature of the research:
Translational research as part of a bigger study

Fields of study:

Background / introduction
Incidence of heart diseases increases over the years because of changing lifestyle. People in high-risk populations have an increased chance of developing heart diseases. The most important high-risk populations are people with obesity, hypertension and diabetes type II. Early diagnosis of heart disease in these groups is complicated in the early stage since heart modifications seen on cardiac imaging modalities in these groups do not always relate to cardiomyopathy, and are often a consequence of the high-risk factor itself.

The aim of the overall study is to provide insights in cardiac modifications of high-risk populations. Topics to be investigated:

1. Function analysis of the heart is the standard way to characterize the cardiac function with MRI. With function analysis, changes in heart morphology such as cardiac output and myocardial thickness can be studied.
2. Tissue characterisation
o T1-mapping is a cardiac MRI scan sequence, so far studied in small, clinical, pilot studies, which can quantify different tissue types by measuring the smallest scanned units ‘voxels’ (1-2mm3). The found signal intensity number signifies the tissue type; oedema, fibrosis, fat, et cetera. It shows potential for early detection and better disease and treatment monitoring.
o T2-mapping is a cardiac MRI scan sequence designed to depict oedema. It can contribute to the diagnosis of several cardiac diseases.
3. Strain-measurement is a research-stage post-processing software which examines myocardial wall-movement. Abnormal wall-movement indicates the presence of a heart disease.
Research question / problem definition
Cut-off values for several MRI-techniques to accurately differentiate ‘healthy’ heart-modification in high-risk populations from early stage cardiomyopathy, are lacking. The aim is to determine gender specific cut-off values in high-risk populations regarding the following topics.

1. Function analysis
2. Tissue characterisation
3. Strain analysis

Interested students are invited to choose one of the above-mentioned three topics.
This project is a part of a larger prospective study. In this prospective study 320 subjects will be included.

The student will perform the data processing in Circle CVI of the already included subjects depending on the topic the student will choose. The individual results can be entered in the electronic database OpenClinica. The data will be analysed after acquisition in SPSS. After analysis, the student can contribute in writing the article.
Volksgezondheid en zorg
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Laatst gewijzigd: 23 februari 2012