Cardiovascular

Cardiovascular research deals with research on problems with the heart and large vascular structures, and sometimes even with neurovascular diseases like stroke. Treatment of cardiovascular disorders such as ischemia, infarction, electrophysiological disorders (conduction problems) like atrial fibrillation, left bundle branch block, and heart failure, has shown great progress as a consequence of the ongoing development of improved imaging strategies and - very important - (quantitative) image processing. Thus, medical image processing can provide important and valuable  additional insight for diagnosis, treatment and follow up of, a.o., the abovementioned diseases.

Active shape modelThe BM/d Research Team is involved in a number of major branches in  cardiovascular research. These are segmentation and function analysis. Segmentation of cardiac structures serves to collect information on shape, size and location of the cardiovascular structures, and possibly on presence, shape, and size of lesions. Functional analysis involves the assessment of the cardiac function. Here, quantitative parametric characterization of cardiac geometry (size/shape), motion (contraction/relaxation), activation timing, strain and deformation, perfusion, ischemic and infarction areas, and edema are obtained from standard and functional images. Image data is mainly acquired by CT, MRI, and Ultrasound scanners.

Circumferential and radial strain shown on tagged MR imagesThe information regarding geometry and function obtained from medical images can be very useful for diagnostic purposes, but also for treatment selection, visual treatment guidance during (minimally invasive) interventions, and assessment of treatment response  (follow-up). Derived information is also used to further personalize medical care.

Beyond imaging, electrophysiological measurements, such as the electrocardiogram, and oxygen saturation measurements, based e.g. on near infrared spectroscopy, are also considered with the aim of enabling long term monitoring. To this end, special attention is dedicated to the design of analysis methods that are robust to motion artifacts.

The cardiovascular research programs are carried out in collaboration with a number of clinical partners such as the Catharina Hospital Eindhoven, Academic Medical Center (Amsterdam), Leiden University Medical Center, University Medical Center Utrecht, King's College Londen.