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Heartbeat-to-heartbeat cardiac tissue characterization

PhD ceremony:M. van den Boomen, MSc
When:July 06, 2020
Supervisors:prof. dr. R.A.J.O. (Rudi) Dierckx, prof. dr. R.H.J.A. (Riemer) Slart
Co-supervisors:dr. R.J.H. Borra, dr. N.H.J. Prakken
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG

Current clinical MRI techniques are able to detect several cardiac tissue alterations, but such detections are often only possible after irreversible remodeling of the heart has occurred. Since a compromised tissue oxygenation balance is expected to play an early role in most cardiovascular diseases, a novel cardiac MRI technique is developed. This technique was initially translated from the brain and is widely known under the name “blood oxygenation level dependent” (BOLD) imaging. With the recent improvements and advances of the MRI systems, the translation of this technique to the heart is finally possible by acquiring BOLD sensitive maps during every heartbeart. This heartbeat-to-heartbeat BOLD imaging technique enables the detection of a change in BOLD in the heart over the time of a breath-hold. Moreover, this BOLD change is compromised and even reversed in hypertensive patients, which indicates a reduced responsiveness of the cardiac vasculature in this patient population. These first results confirm the potential of this cardiac BOLD imaging technique to contribute in understanding the role of microvascular diseases in cardiovascular risk populations, including people with obesity and diabetes. Furthermore, several other improvements are being investigated, such as; increasing the coverage to enable imaging of the whole heart in a single breath-hold and using a contrast medium to extract more information about the vasculature. However, even without these improvements this cardiac BOLD MRI technique can already be highly beneficial to detect cardiac blood oxygenation changes as an early marker for cardiovascular diseases, which was not possible until now.