New standards and tools will validate emerging techniques to identify those at risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Europe and costs the economy nearly €200 billion each year. Consequently, there is an urgent need for reliable diagnostic tests which identify patients at intermediate risk of cardiovascular disease, so they can be given the appropriate treatment at an earlier stage, increasing their chance of survival. Several landmark studies have shown that the accurate measurement of blood flow (perfusion) to the heart, which can indicate parts of the heart with inadequate blood supply, could be well-suited to this task. However, accurate quantification of perfusion is currently only possible through invasive measurements with catheters - a costly procedure with undesirable side-effects. Alternative medical imaging techniques have been developed to measure perfusion non-invasively but the results can vary significantly depending on which imaging technique is used. This project will develop physical standards and data analysis tools to assess the reliability of the different imaging techniques, thereby validating their potential use in the early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.