Research in detail
Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
The Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) Unit was established in 1984 making it one of the very first to specialise in CMR and research. The CMR Unit has pioneered contributions in the field over 25 years in the assessment of myocardial iron overload, cardiomyopathy, flow, rapid imaging, atheroma, coronaries, myocardial perfusion, volume/mass assessment and valvular disease. The CMR Unit is an international referral centre, performing about 6,000 clinical cardiovascular CMR studies per year as well as a substantial number of research projects leading to 40-60 peer reviewed papers annually. The dedicated staff numbering 30 in total, have extensive experience is this field allowing excellence in clinical practice, teaching and research.
Current significant research areas include diffusion tensor imaging of myocardial microstructure, assessment of cardiac iron in transfusion dependent anaemias including thalassaemia major, inherited cardiac diseases including assessment of prognosis using late gadolinium enhancement imaging, and novel physics techniques.
Our research aims to assess more effectively patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and valve disease. Safe early and cost-effective detection of CAD is a clinically important arena. We have shown and published use of microbubbles in CAD and also shown it is cost-effective. We have also shown how simple echo parameters help determine severity of aortic valve disease without resorting to further testing. Echocardiography is non-invasive, safe, widely available and cost-efficient.
We conduct clinical research using cardiovascular CT to further define the role of this non-invasive technique in the diagnosis, initial management and follow up of cardiovascular disease. At the Royal Brompton Hospital this includes coronary artery atheroma assessment, structural heart disease (including the imaging associated with cutting edge surgical/interventional techniques such as trans-mitral valve replacemement and left atrial appendage exclusion), adult and paediatric ocngenital heart disease, electrophysiology and heart failure or cardiomyopathy.
Additionally, in collaboration with medical physics experts and radiography staff we are continually refining and publishing our protocols to maximise the diagnostic yield of cardiovascular CT at the lowest dose possible, but maintaining diagnostic image quality.
Cardiovascular CT is a low X-ray dose, non-invasive technique with excellent spatial and temporal resolution that allows rapid, safe and non-invasive assessment of both cardiovascular and other anatomic structures. It has the ability to assess both the lumen and wall of coronary arteries and increasing is established as a main stream non-invasive imaging modality in both adults and children with cardiovascular or cardiothoracic pathology.
As a department we have published over 100 peer reviewed manuscripts, book chapters and books and regularly teach and present our research data at international conferences. We have recently published in high impact factor journals such as JACC, JACC Cardiovascular Imaging, European Radiology and Heart.