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Imaging tests are an integral part of medicine. The last year has shown the importance of imaging in cardiology. New imaging methods are emerging in Poland and around the world, the latest technologies are used, and all this shows how important imaging is in the development of the treatment of heart and vascular diseases.
Imaging testsplay a very important role in cardiology. Traditional ECG examination is becoming less and less important in cardiology in relation to transthoracic echocardiography, to more detailed transesophageal echocardiography, including three-dimensional 3D echocardiography imaging.
Today, imaging in cardiology is divided into invasive and non-invasive.
Imaging diagnostics in the form of computed tomography, assessment of structures, vessel morphology, cavities, heart valves, and also based on three-dimensional images - 3D reconstructions, is developing tremendously. In addition, we observe the dynamic development of magnetic resonance imaging.
- Magnetic resonance imaging, in addition to morphological assessment, i.e. images of structures, also gives us the opportunity to study functions, including inflow in the area of the myocardium, ischemia and heart hypoxia tests, and enables dynamic monitoring of the heart's work. Also in this study, we are able to define in detail the type of ongoing inflammatory processes or other causes responsible for the so-called cardiomyopathies, i.e. damage to the heart muscle - lists prof. Dariusz Dudek, director of the international cardiology workshops New Frontiers in Interventional Cardiology (NFIC) in Krakow.
The dynamic development of imaging methods means that the ECG image itself or the image of "ordinary echo" is less important in planning procedures on the heart, but the three-dimensional image reconstruction, whether in resonance, becomes much more important magnetic or computed tomography, and these images allow you to plan the procedure more precisely than it was before with the use of classic methods such as echocardiography.
As emphasized by prof. Dudek, irrespective of non-invasive methods, is developing very much the methods of invasive imaging of the heart. These include intracoronary ultrasound and optical coherence tomography (OCT).
WIn intracoronary ultrasound, we are able to analyze the details of the heart wall, atherosclerotic plaque, thoroughly analyze the redistribution of fatty (atherosclerotic) plaques, and observe the effects after placement of intracoronary stents that restore vascular patency. This method, however, is no longer sufficient for us and cardiology has a method of optical coherence tomography, which with an accuracy of several dozen microns, i.e. almost with the precision of a microscope, observes the vessel wall, or shows us a coronary stent. Thanks to this, we are able to recognize all the small details - we can analyze the thrombus formation, we can see the smallest cracks in the vessel wall, we can see the structure of atherosclerotic plaques, we can see their arrangement, dependence, expansion and adherence to the vessel wall after the installation of the most complicated stent configuration - says Prof. Dudek.
It is known that these methods in cardiology translate into better and better treatment results, and numerous scientific studies show that they improve the results achieved, and thus reduce mortality. These newest imaging methods are also discussed by the best specialists during the international New Frontiers in Interventional Cardiology (NFIC) workshop in Krakow.
In addition to imaging methods, cardiology also uses functional methods, so e.g. blood pressure measurement inside the coronary arteries. And also at the NFIC workshop, the fiber optic method will be shown, it is nothing more than the use of optical fibers in cardiology.
By measuring the pressure inside the artery before and behind the stenosis, we are able to determine the significance of this stenosis or determine the effectiveness of the expanded stent. Until recently, we used more classic energy chains that transmitted this information through electric fibers in a traditional way. In 2016, we observe a dynamically developing technology of optical fibers, which precisely transfer information about the pressure from the inside of the coronary arteries to the desktop, which results in faster measurements, smaller measurement deviations, which gives faster and more reliable information for cardiologists whether to treat or not. And if I have already put a stent on, is it well placed or does it require any correction? Fiber optic technologies are becoming more and more common in medicine because transmission is simply faster and more accurate - explains Prof. Dudek.
Imaging methods and functional methods are obviously very important both in diagnostics and in cardiological procedures. Thanks to this, cardiologists can heal their own even more precisely, efficiently and fasterpatients.
The text was written on the occasion of the New Frontiers in Interventional Cardiology (NFIC) workshop in Krakow