The Imaging Research department’s main interests are imaging and intervention in Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes, working with colleagues in the University of Dundee, NHS Tayside and more widely through the Tayside Medical Science Centre (TASC).
Cardiovascular Disease, Stroke and Diabetes
Major research interests are the improvement of non-invasive methods of assessing patient risk factors for disease, the assessment of presence, site and severity of disease using MRI or CT, and the use of imaging techniques to improve understanding of pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease. Current work is in vulnerable plaque, haemodynamic analysis and overall atheroma burden using MRI.
MRI has been used in the assessment of drug effectiveness in heart failure and hypertension (BHF,CSO, MRC, Chest Heart and Stroke), in particular Left Ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) which is a strong independent cardiovascular risk factor. MRI has played a crucial part in exploring novel approaches such as reducing oxidative stress (allopurinol) or achieving lower than normal target BPs. In addition, the Imaging Research department has undertaken a major MRI study, the TASCFORCE Project (Souter Charitable Foundation, Tenovus), which assesses cardiovascular risk in a large population based study (40,000 patients) using 3T MRI. Additional work is researching the effect of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease on the heart and major blood vessels (Wellcome Trust) and large arterial stiffness (MRC).
Initially the work led to an improved understanding of how stroke affects the muscles of respiration. Recent work has assessed the use of CT Angiography compared to Doppler Ultrasound in the assessment of risk of further stroke and correlation of carotid arterial plaque with MRI and Trans-cranial Doppler in patients with Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TMRI). Future work will examine the link between stroke and cardiac disease (BHF) using MRI.
This work has improved the understanding of MRI blood flow patterns, perfusion, assessment of renal damage and the link to tests of renal function (CSO funded). Current funded work examines the link between kidney disease and cardiac function (BHF), and a large collaborative EU research examining haemodynamics in renal vascular access (ReDVA , www.redva.eu) to improve the outcome for patients with kidnay failure.
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)
Recent work has focused on blood flow haemodynamics in atheromatous disease and treatments of PVD using arterial 3-d geometries and haemodynamic wall stress predictions using computerised fluid dynamics (SE, DTI). Current work is looking at imaging and biomarker predictors of PVD progression.
Whole Body Atheroma Burden
A programme of grant funded research is underway (TMRC, IMI EU,CSO, MRS) to evaluate biomarkers and MR imaging markers for whole body atheroma burden assessment as a means of determining those patients at most risk for rapid disease progression, optimising patient’s treatments using imaging to stratify patients to appropriate interventions. This work focuses on advanced MR image acquisition and analysis techniques with collaborations internally with computing and externally with Guerbet and Toshiba Medical Visualization Europe Ltd.
Endovascular Therapy Techniques
The Imaging Research department have developed the applications of blood haemodynamics to cardiovascular disease, particularly in relation to long term effectiveness of vascular graft, stent grafts, and stents (CSO, Edwards Lifesciences, Cordis, Vascular Flow Technologies).
Interventional Radiology Technique Development
Imaging Research are particularly interested in the development of interventional radiological techniques, having worked on vascular embolisation, tumour ablation, and gene therapy delivery techniques (EU, Tenovus), working closely with the Institute of Medical Science and Technology (IMSAT), acting as advisor and PhD supervisor on cardiovascular implants and imaging and working in this field with cadaveric models (Hadwen Trust).
Community/Public Health in Cardiovascular Disease
This work is aimed at improving patients understanding of clinical investigations and disease. This collaborative work with the School of Arts, Media and Imaging at Duncan University uses state of the art computer, graphics and display facilities. Displayed at the British Institute of Radiology, this work allows wide collaborative research potential in the Medical School, Dental School, the School of Life Sciences and Mathematics, with projects predominantly in cardiovascular disease (MRC, Sangster Foundation, AHRB, NESTA), stroke and diabetes. These techniques enhance patients understanding of clinical imaging, disease processes, assist in medical student and postgraduate training, and assist treatment planning and responses to therapy. By working closely with Community Health Partnerships and general practitioners, this has the potential to significantly improve the patient’s experience of “the patient journey” and their disease.