Department of Peri-Operative Cardiology and Cardiovascular Imaging

Body Radiology

The Body Radiology Unit is supported by a team of 6 specialists in Radiology, 12 radiology technicians and 8 nurses and it is active for both outpatient and emergency examinations. The Unit has two latest generation 256-layers CT scanners, a latest generation digital ultrasound scanner equipped with software for image optimization, two traditional x-ray machines and two portable x-rays for carrying out examinations at the patients'bed.

The activity includes a series of diagnostic investigations by CT, with or without contrast, mainly dedicated to vascular imaging targeted at different body districts such as thorax, abdomen, neck and lower limbs to assess or monitor pathologies of major arteries (such as thoracoabdominal aorta or carotid arteries) or to help planning surgeries.
In addition, CT scans are performed also for brain studies, in the follow-up of oncological pathologies or for the study of lung parenchyma in the suspicion of inflammatory or chronic pathologies.

Another important area of CT activity is related to examinations for the planning of structural cardiology's interventions , aimed for example at the replacement of heart valves by a minimally invasive transcatheter approach. Thanks to the wide coverage of the CT scanners supplied to the Unit, it is possible to study in a few seconds entire body districts optimizing the volume of contrast agent with low doses of ionizing radiation to the patient.

The activity of traditional radiology mainly includes chest X-ray and orthopantomography examinations for the patients admitted. As for ultrasound diagnostics, the activity of the Unit concerns studies aimed at the abdomen and thyroid. Color-doppler studies of vascular districts, such as renal arteries and abdominal aorta, are also performed with a specific contrast agent with microbubbles for the follow-up of patients with endoprosthetic of the abdominal aorta, as an accurate alternative to other methods, particularly in patients with potential contraindications to performing CT scan with contrast agent.

Research Activities

  • The Department as a whole addresses several research topics.
    These are the main ones:

    • superiority of three-dimensional technology in the assessment of right and left atrial function, mitral prolapse and intraoperative monitoring;
    • practicability and accuracy of non-invasive assessment with coronary artery native CT, stent and aorto-coronary bypass;
    • new cardiac CT techniques with reduced radiation doses while maintaining high accuracy in the evaluation of native and stent coronaries;
    • use of cardiac MRI in the development of new methods of studying heart cavities and valve systems;
    • new biomedical engineering approaches in evaluating cardiac image with three-dimensional technology to better follow ventricular remodeling after cardiac surgery and study the dynamics of mitral and aortic valves;
    • collaboration with other Departments for a multidisciplinary approach in specific contexts in the evaluation of patients to undergo electrophysiological procedures, therapies for heart failure, coronary angioplasty procedures, cardiac surgery (in particular in the percutaneous closure of the left auricle, implantation of percutaneous or transapical aortic valves and percutaneous repair with mitral-mitral-clip valve).

Other Activities

  • Educational activities

    Most of the clinicians provide their collaboration with the University of Milan carring on teaching activities.
    The laboratory hosts every 3 months a rotation of specialists in cardiology, and provides the logistics and tutors necessary for the preparation of theses.
    The laboratory also welcomes medical visitors from other Italian and foreign Institutes, for educational purposes.

    National and international scientific activities

    The clinicians are involved in several national and international congresses and courses as speakers.