Assessment of Cardiovascular Blood Flow

The primary purpose of the cardiovascular system is to drive, control and maintain blood flow to all parts of the body. The heart acts as the pump in this system, and has as task to move blood through the body. Using a complex and ingenious interplay between muscle contraction and valve function, it fulfills this task amazingly efficient during rest and exercise for about a hundred years.

Assessment of Cardiovascular Blood Flow Using 4D Flow MRIFoto: Oskar Luren

Next generation cardiac disease assessment

Sometimes small abnormalities occur at birth or by disease, cardiovascular diseases are often found in obesity, diabetes and an aging population. The heart can compensate for these to some extent, but they can also lead to inefficient pump function and sometimes to a cascade of more severe abnormalities.

Despite the primacy of flow, cardiac diagnostics still rely almost exclusively on tools focused on morphological assessment. Flow characteristics are often assumed rather than measured directly. Suitable non-invasive tools for characterizing and measuring flow dynamics are needed to push our medical effectiveness to the next level.

The objective of this project is to develop the next generation of methods for the non-invasive quantitative assessment of cardiovasvular diseases and therapies by focusing on blood flow dynamics, with the goals of earlier and more accurate detection and improved management of cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular blood flow is the heart of the matter

The project makes use of a method for flow quantification using MRI which allows for simultaneous measurement of time-resolved, three-dimensional (time + 3D = 4D) blood flow velocity and turbulence intensity. This method, which was pioneered at CMIV, reveals blood flow patterns in the heart and the large vessels. By combining this approach with modelling approaches, more knowledge can be obtained from the measured about the cardiovascular system under different conditions.

Cardiovascular blood flow is still to a large extent unknown. In order to define relevant parameters, development of analysis and visualization approaches and studies of normal and abnormal blood flow have to be performed in chorus.

Studying cardiovascular blood flow dynamics in patients and healthy subjects will improve our understanding of the roles of flow dynamics in health and disease, leading to improved cardiac diagnostics, novel assessments of pharmaceutical, interventional, and surgical therapies. Promoting exploration of new avenues for management of cardiac disorders can facilitate treatment of cardiovascular patients with higher quality and lower costs.

 

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