The research activity of the Cardiac Imaging Area is deeply integrated with the daily clinical work and includes echocardiography, computed tomography and magnetic resonance.
Regarding recent research projects, our main efforts are focused on:
- new methods in transthoracic and transesophageal 3D-echocardiography demonstrating advantages of 3D vs 2D-echocardiography in the evaluation of right ventricular function, mitral valve prolapse, intraoperative monitoring of cardiac surgery, left atrial function;
- feasibility and accuracy of non-invasive evaluation of coronary arteries, stents and bypass grafting through cardiac computed tomography;
- new technical advances in radiation dose reduction in cardiac computed tomography maintaining a high accuracy in native and stented coronary arteries evaluation;
- cardiac CT and prognosis;
- new bioengineering approaches to cardiac imaging computation, mainly in the field of 3D-echocardiography;
- collaboration with other Units within the framework of a disease-specific multidisciplinary team in the evaluation of patients undergoing electrophysiological approaches, cardiac failure therapies, PCI procedures, cardiac surgery (including percutaneous/transapical aortic valve implantation, mitral clip, left atrial appendage closure).
A recent field of scientific interest is the new real-time 3D-echocardiographic imaging. In particular, our attention is focused on the quantification of novel 3D left ventricular shape indices, able to overcome the limitations relevant to prior 2D indices, to better follow ventricular remodelling after surgery and to study the coupling between left ventricular function and morphology.
Recently, MRI has been integrated in our area and, even though the Unit start-up allowed us only a 2 year experience (with more than 1000 cases per year), has allowed new approaches such as the analysis of the tricuspid valve by an innovative method of acquisition and reconstruction of images of the tricuspid annulus and right ventricle. Interestingly, tricuspid annulus is relatively easily evaluated through this novel MRI method and an accurate dynamic reconstruction has been shown to be feasible.