Understanding Cardiac Imaging Techniques
From Basic Pathology to Image Fusion
In Western Countries, a significant amount of public money flows through medical imaging. In particular, the recent availability of 3D imaging techniques in cardiology has provided an enormous flow of information to the clinical management of low and high risk patients. However, most of this progress has occurred within single techniques, and the correlation among different findings such as perfusion, metabolism or wall motion abnormalities is still difficult and mostly qualitative. In the last decade, imaging labs developed through the identification of individual standards that frequently provide redundant information (e.g. wall motion) and, in some cases, may result even in conflicting results due to lack of correlation among different techniques. In fact, single photon and positron emission tomography, first and second generation echocardiography, magnetic resonance imaging and coronary angiography are rather expensive investigations that, if not well correlated, may generate additional costs or erroneous decision makings (e.g. medical/surgical treatment), especially in high risk populations.
The complexity of the problem is also reflected by the technical differences of these techniques: echocardiography is based on ultrasounds, positron and single photon emission tomographies on radioisotopes, magnetic resonance on electronic fields and angiography on x-rays. These differences are also responsible for different reconstruction processes and, more or less for all techniques, for originating different artifatcs that affect final reports.
This book, the first in the field of image fusion, collects the experience of different imaging specialists, starting from the basic concepts of cardiac imaging, analizing differences and similarities between invasive and non-invasive techniques, challenged versus the “computer” point of view, in order to obtain an operative efficient guide in this field.