Non-invasive Cardiovascular Imaging Research Cluster (CIRC)

Imaging provides the window into the structure and function of the heart and cardiovascular system and is an integral role in patient care decisions.

Innovations in cardiac imaging have great potential to substantially improve health outcomes through earlier, less invasive, more accurate and more cost-efficient diagnosis of disease. However, imaging is one of the fastest growing health care expenditures. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure imaging technology is developed, implemented and used effectively to maximize value to both patients and society at large. Such evaluation of the clinical and economic impact currently lags behind the pace of the technology and biomarker development.

There is an urgent need for imaging approaches to: a) better assist in selecting patients for invasive and medical therapies; b) better characterize phenotypes of patients with cardiovascular diseases; c) develop more accurate diagnostic non-invasive tools; d) evaluate the impact of imaging strategies on patient outcomes, quality of life (QoL) and costs; e) standardize the diverse imaging practices in clinical and research applications; and f) develop new imaging-derived biomarkers and techniques for cardiovascular disease. Innovative multidisciplinary teams are required to enable clinical evaluation, comparison of imaging approaches and translational research to address these gaps.

As such, the Non-invasive Cardiovascular Imaging Research Cluster seeks to advance our understanding of cardiovascular disease, monitor disease progression and to improve, diagnose and guide therapy to improve patient care and outcomes. These goals are achieved through the application of non-invasive imaging.

Goals of the Cluster

The research objectives of the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Cluster (CIRC) are to:

  • develop/validate novel cardiac imaging probes, tools, techniques and strategies; and provide a translational platform to: a) assess novel imaging biomarkers and approaches; b) identify key imaging targets for future trials and clinical applications; and c) facilitate policy development.
  • understand and delineate the mechanisms and progression of cardiovascular disease;
  • understand and validate cardiac imaging modalities as a diagnostic and prognostic tools;
  • establish standardized protocols, quality assurance (QA) measures and central databases in order to ensure reliable outcome-driven research;
  • determine the impact of imaging strategies on relevant clinical outcomes, QoL, cost effectiveness, diagnosis and decision making in patients with cardiovascular disease; and
  • understandand study the potential role of cardiac imaging to guide patient therapy and improve such outcomes.

The cluster seeks to accomplish the aforementioned objectives using multiple imaging modalities (nuclear cardiology, cardiac PET, echocardiography, cardiac CT, and cardiac MR), either independently or in hybrid combinations, to answer fundamental and/or clinical questions in cardiovascular medicine.

Innovation Cluster Scientists

Lead: Benjamin Chow, MD, University of Ottawa Heart Institute
Co-Leads: Rob deKemp, PhD and Girish Dwivedi, MD, PhD, University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Team members at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute:
Kathy Ascah, MD, Rob Beanlands, MD, Luc Beauchesne, MD, Ian Burwash, MD, Kwan Chan, MD, Ross Davies, MD, Sandy Dick, MD, Peter Liu, MD, Girish Nair, MD, Pablo Nery, MD, Terrence Ruddy, MD, Ellamae Stadnick, MD, Glenn Wells, PhD

Other Team members:
Greg Cron, PhD, Senior Clinical Research Associate, University of Ottawa
Carole Dennie, MD, Radiologist, The Ottawa Hospital
Joao Inacio, MD, Diagnostic Imaging, The Ottawa Hospital
Ran Klein, PhD, Imaging Physicist, The Ottawa Hospital
Elena Pena, MD, Assistant Professor Radiology and Cardiothoracic Radiologist, The Ottawa Hospital
Rebecca Thornhill, PhD, Assistant Professor, Radiology; MRI Physicist Physicist, The Ottawa Hospital
Lionel Zuckier, MD, Division Head, Nuclear Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital

Ongoing Pilot Projects

Correlation of Arrhythmia Mechanism and Substrate to Ablate Persistent Atrial Fibrillation (COAST-AF)

COAST-AF is a pilot project with the goal of evaluating the utility of an innovative strategy for catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) using a combination of non-invasive ECG mapping, left atrial fibrosis analysis assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and autonomic innervation evaluated by HED-PET. This is a multi-disciplinary project involving the Atrial Fibrillation Cluster and the Cardiovascular Imaging Cluster.

Project led by Pablo Nery, MD, Rob deKemp, PhD, Elena Pena, MD

Selected Innovation Cluster Publications
  1. Chow BJ, Dorbala S, Di Carli MF, Merhige ME, Williams BA, Veledar E, Min JK, Pencina MJ, Yam Y, Chen L, Anand SP, Ruddy TD, Berman DS, Shaw LJ, Beanlands RS. Prognostic value of PET myocardial perfusion imaging in obese patientsJACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Mar;7(3):278-87
  2. Wells RG, Timmins R, Klein R, Lockwood J, Marvin B, deKemp RA, Wei L, Ruddy TD. Dynamic SPECT measurement of absolute myocardial blood flow in a porcine modelJ Nucl Med. 2014 Oct;55(10):1685-91.
  3. Boczar KE, Alam M, Chow BJ, Dwivedi G. Incremental prognostic value of estimated LV end-diastolic volume by cardiac CTJACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Dec;7(12):1280-1.
  4. Hall AB, Ziadi MC, Leech JA, Chen SY, Burwash IG, Renaud J, deKemp RA, Haddad H, Mielniczuk LM, Yoshinaga K, Guo A, Chen L, Walter O, Garrard L, DaSilva JN, Floras JS, Beanlands RS. Effects of short-term continuous positive airway pressure on myocardial sympathetic nerve function and energetics in patients with heart failure and obstructive sleep apnea: a randomized studyCirculation. 2014 Sep 9;130(11):892-901.
  5. Pen A, Yam Y, Chen L, Dennie C, McPherson R, Chow BJ. Discordance between Framingham Risk Score and atherosclerotic plaque burdenEur Heart J. 2013 Apr;34(14):1075-82.
  6. Coutinho T, Goel K, Corrêa de Sá D, Carter RE, Hodge DO, Kragelund C, Kanaya AM, Zeller M, Park JS, Kober L, Torp-Pedersen C, Cottin Y, Lorgis L, Lee SH, Kim YJ, Thomas R, Roger VL, Somers VK, Lopez-Jimenez F. Combining body mass index with measures of central obesity in the assessment of mortality in subjects with coronary disease: role of “normal weight central obesity”. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Feb 5;61(5):553-60.
  7. Mc Ardle BA, Dowsley TF, deKemp RA, Wells GA, Beanlands RS. Does rubidium-82 PET have superior accuracy to SPECT perfusion imaging for the diagnosis of obstructive coronary disease?: A systematic review and meta-analysisJ Am Coll Cardiol. 2012 Oct 30;60(18):1828-37.
  8. Chow BJ, Wells GA, Chen L, Yam Y, Galiwango P, Abraham A, Sheth T, Dennie C, Beanlands RS, Ruddy TD. Prognostic value of 64-slice cardiac computed tomography severity of coronary artery disease, coronary atherosclerosis, and left ventricular ejection fractionJ Am Coll Cardiol. 2010 Mar 9;55(10):1017-28.

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