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Circulatory Health

Modern cross-sectional imaging techniques enable visualization and precise quantification of pathologic changes in the vasculature as well resulting end-organ damage due to atherosclerosis and other diseases. The cardiovascular imaging research program is focused on:

  1. Development of new cardiovascular imaging techniques.
  2. Development of methods to quantify vascular and end-organ damage.
  3. Assessment of the value of imaging for individualized risk assessment.

Research field

In the UMC Utrecht Center for Image Sciences we develop new techniques based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and molecular imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET)which we test preclinically and apply in clinical practice. This research line has a highly translational character. Imaging researchers participate in broad, multidisciplinary collaborations with Cardiologists, Vascular Surgeons, Vascular Medicine Specialists, Stroke Neurologists and Specialists in Clinical Chemistry that seek to understand the relation between pathophysiology, genetics, biochemistry, and the resulting structural changes in the vasculature and end organs. To precisely quantify these changes, image-processing scientists develop algorithms to semi-automatically extract this information.

Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular imaging techniques are not only important for diagnosis, but also for prognosis and prevention. Research in this area is carried out together with the Epidemiologists and focused on improving prediction of future cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events in individual patients.

'Big data'

In this context cardiovascular imaging plays an important role in a multidisciplinary ‘big data’ initiative entitled “Utrecht Cardiovascular Cohort” in which all patients with cardiovascular disease presenting to Utrecht University Medical Center will be studied in a standardized fashion with the aim to improve personal risk prediction and offer strategies for prevention.

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