Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Controversies exist regarding thoracic aortic disease imaging

Controversies exist regarding aortic disease imaging (the aorta as well as the aortic valve, including characterization in the presence of a bicuspid aortic valve (BAV)). Many imaging approaches are optimized for evaluation of coronary artery disease rather than aortic disease. Without accurate characterization, the degree of disease progression may be under estimated, patient symptoms may be discounted, and those who ...more »

Submitted by (@bavtad)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Imaging specifically tailored to BAV and the thoracic aortic aneurysm population is needed. This includes efforts to identify subtle forms of aortic valve malformation such as the “forme fruste” BAV as described by Sperling and Lubet.

1. Echocardiogram is a useful noninvasive imaging tool, however, it is believed to miss detection of as many as 50% of BAVs.

2. The exercise echocardiogram is useful for evaluation of wall motion abnormality, which may be present in those with coronary artery disease or other underlying sources of myocardial injury. However, this is not a common issue in those with BAV. Rather, accurate assessment of BAV function is necessary. Pressure testing for eccentric AI and the short axis view of the AV area, including clear visualization of both the open and closed valve, may not be employed, and consequently clarity of BAV functioning is not achieved.

3. Although there are open questions about aortic size relative to timing of elective surgery, size of the aorta is a diagnostic parameter, and is frequently done via CT imaging. CT images are typically captured in diastole, which is appropriate for coronary artery disease. However, the aorta will be undersized if measured in diastole. Measurement of the aorta in systole captures the aorta when most distended.

4. Other considerations, such as the presence of bovine arch anatomy, may not be noted, since their relevance may not be appreciated.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Current imaging technology is widely available in most medical communities. It is very feasible, by focusing on valvular and aortic conditions separately from coronary artery disease, to optimize imaging for these conditions and make these imaging approaches broadly available to patients.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Arlys Velebir, Bicuspid Aortic Foundation

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Support for Cardiothoracic Surgery and Pediatric Heart Clinical Trial Networks

Continued and expanded support for the Cardiothoracic Surgical Trials Network (CTSN) and Pediatric Heart Network (PHN) is essential as both design, conduct, and analyze multiple, collaborative clinical trials that evaluate surgical interventions, and related management approaches for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. To date both networks have reported on and developed a portfolio of studies which need continued ...more »

Submitted by (@meaton)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The work and support provided to date have allowed for the creation of an infrastructure for both the CTSN and PHN. Each network is now providing valuable results to the cardiothoracic surgery specialty which will allow an increase in quality patient care in the years and decades to come. The continued support is essential for the success of these networks as any reduction will limit the resources available for site participation and ultimately results. Due to the existing infrastructure for each network, the financial burden associated with de-funding and then restarting the networks in future years would be at least triple the financial commitment currently in place.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Conducting multi-center clinical trials is a substantial financial commitment but a vital part for the future of the cardiothoracic surgery specialty.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Matt E.

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Translation of novel computed tomography technologies

Computed tomography and related x-ray imaging techniques are mainstays of cardiovascular imaging and treatment. Novel technologies are emerging for CT that promise further improvements for cardiovascular disease, such as spectral CT, phase contrast CT or nanoparticle contrast agents. However, many challenges remain for their translation to patients.

Submitted by (@davidcormode)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Spectral and phase contrast CT promise enhanced diagnoses of cardiovascular disease due to their improved soft tissue contrast and increased sensitivity towards contrast agents. Novel contrast agents are starting to allow molecular imaging with CT. These technologies could allow sophisticated characterization of atherosclerotic plaque and other diseases. This would provide enhanced diagnoses, tailored treatments and monitoring of response to therapies.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Improvements and innovations need to be made in beam filtration, detector systems, electronics and image reconstruction algorithms to allow clinical versions of spectral and phase contrast CT systems to be developed that have similar performance in terms of speed and radiation dose of current clinical systems. Investments need to be made in the development of novel, targeted nanoparticle contrast agent materials and studying their safety prior to clinical trials. While these are very significant challenges, with innovative approaches it should be possible to overcome these problems.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Cormode

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Development of non-contrast alternatives in cardiac magnetic resonance imaging

Critical Challenge

Submitted by (@str0001)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Late gadolinium-enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MR) plays a crucial role in the evaluation of patients with suspected myocardial scar tissue. Alternative methods to contrast-enhanced MR however are in need, given the number of patients who have concomitant compromised renal function and concern for nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. Noncontrast MR techniques such as diffusion-weighted imaging would complement and eventually replace gadolinium administration thus impacting the evaluation of those with suspected and confirmed infiltrative cardiac processes and systemic diseases.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Late gadolinium enhancement technique characterizes enhancement patterns of heart disease, identifies areas amenable to ablation, and aids in decisions pertaining to workup and therapy. The underlying mechanism of Brownian motion/diffusion in the expanded extracellular space makes diffusion weighted imaging a potential gadolinium-saving modality. Diffusion MR, applied primarily in the brain and abdominal imaging, is underutilized in the heart given respiratory and cardiac motion. A need exists to further develop and apply noncontrast MR techniques towards cardiovascular applications. Such methods are promising noncontrast alternatives to characterize patients with myocardial disease, determine those with differing prognoses, and direct appropriate therapies to subgroups.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Society of Thoracic Radiology

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Comprehensive Assessment of Cardiovascular Physiology: Imaging of Structure, Function and Blood Flow

The development of cardiovascular disease is associated with changes in structure, function and blood flow within a complex and highly interconnected system. Current diagnostic tools focus on individual elements of the cardiovascular system and/or relatively simple parameters which do not reflect the true underlying pathophysiology. A novel multi-modular and multi-parametric approach based on new and promising imaging ...more »

Submitted by (@mmarkl)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Functional pulmonary imaging with noninvasive imaging techniques

Critical Challenge

Submitted by (@str0001)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Pulmonary dynamics are altered with diffuse lung disease. Pulmonary function testing is a mainstay for evaluating patients with diffuse lung disease. However, ability to assess alterations of local lung mechanics and physiology may elucidate those patients with varying outcomes and mechanisms of disease. Such local analysis is possible with imaging such as MR and quantitative computed tomography (CT).

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MR) techniques are available that are capable of evaluating the oxygen delivery and blood flow to regional areas of the lung and measurement of pressures in the heart and vasculature. Additionally, advanced dual-energy CT techniques enable assessment of blood volume within the lungs. Such techniques can be applied to pulmonary vascular and pulmonary parenchymal disease and combinations of the two. For example, an understanding of the cardiopulmonary interaction and phenotyping of pulmonary hypertension is needed. A need exists to determine if advanced CT technology and MR can identify patients with the emerging phenotypes of combined pulmonary hypertension, in which the degree of pulmonary hypertension is greater than expected from cardiac and pulmonary causes. MR can potentially serve as early predictors of these phenotypes, given MR’s ability to evaluate the parenchyma, the pulmonary vasculature, and heart, and in combination with other biomarkers determine appropriate therapy.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Society of Thoracic Radiology

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Training for radiologist researchers for effective translational research

Critical Challenge

Submitted by (@str0001)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

As targeted therapy and molecular mechanisms of disease are emerging, a mechanism to improve the ability of radiologists to perform translational research is crucial. Such knowledge is essential for collaborative multidisciplinary research that ultimately leads to imaging as disease-specific diagnostic and therapeutic tools to combat pulmonary and cardiovascular disease.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Knowledge in the molecular mechanisms of disease and the potential for imaging technology to advance via targeted imaging agents, positron emission tomography (PET), functional MR methods, PET/computer tomography, and PET/MR is increasing. The radiologist has in depth expertise within imaging technology, performance of studies, and diagnostic abilities of imaging techniques. A program directed towards developing imagers towards translational imaging research will include in-depth education and training in lung physiology, pulmonary disease mechanisms, multimodality imaging bridging CT, PET/CT, MR and PET/MR, and the molecular techniques. With such knowledge and training, radiologists will be prepared to serve as principal investigators and collaborators in multidisciplinary teams. An understanding of imaging technologies and their capabilities, the clinical challenges, and molecular techniques will enable imagers to provide innovative solutions to diagnostic dilemmas in pulmonary and cardiovascular disease.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Society of Thoracic Radiology

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Funding for Cardiothoracic Surgery Research

The continued development of new technologies requires cardiothoracic surgeons to maintain a strong level of research to ensure the highest quality of patient care and surgical outcomes are received across the world. The level of support for CT surgery within the NIH has continued to drop over the last decade. This is a substantial problem for the specialty as the limited funding available creates difficulty in the continued ...more »

Submitted by (@meaton)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

CT Surgeons are performing procedures on some of the sickest patients while effecting some of the most dramatic favorable outcomes and the continue support for research in this specialty is essential to ensuring improvements in quality patient care. CT surgeons are provided the opportunity to participate in both the research lab and operating room which provides an important opportunity for a role in both the scientific discovery and implementation of new outcomes.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Cardiothoracic diseases are one of the top health issues facing the global population and the research being conducted is integral in helping cure the issues facing the current generation. With expanded support for research, new areas of the heart, lung, and esophagus can be studied with the hopes of identifying new technologies and procedures to help ensure the next generation is given the highest quality of care possible.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Matt E.

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Applying Imaging in Chronic Lung Diseases

How can chest CT or other imaging tools be optimally used to characterize expression and progression of chronic lung disease?

Submitted by (@jdc000)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Chest CT scans provide anatomical information on disease pattern and severity that cannot be readily obtained otherwise. These imaging studies could be essential in reclassifying chronic lung diseases more effectively and in assessing disease progression more accurately.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The increasing use of chest CT scans for lung cancer screening will provide a large number of imaging studies that could transform pulmonary research in multiple chronic lung diseases. However, the images will need to be appropriately collected and analyzed.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Ed Silverman, James Crapo and COPDGene Executive Committee

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Short comprehensive cardiac MR imaging in post-chemotherapy cancer patients

Critical Challenge

Submitted by (@str0001)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Cardiovascular disease and cancer are frequently identified in the same patient. Both diseases are highly prevalent in the United States population, and cancer or its therapies can result in cardiovascular disease. Early diagnosis and prediction of cardiovascular disease in patients to undergo therapy will identify patients at higher risk for cardiac dysfunction and enable earlier diagnosis of subclinical cardiac dysfunction.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MR) is a powerful imaging modality for evaluating the heart function. Specifically, MR techniques allow for quantifying regional heart function, e.g. strain and strain rate, and may provide earlier markers of cardiovascular disease development than global measures of heart function, e.g. left ventricular ejection fraction, as estimated by echocardiography. Early identification of subclinical heart failure of post-chemotherapy cancer patients will allow for early and on-time chemotherapy change and personalized treatment.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Society of Thoracic Radiology

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3 net votes
6 up votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Translation of novel computed tomography technologies

Computed tomography and related x-ray imaging techniques are mainstays of cardiovascular imaging and treatment. Novel technologies are emerging for CT that promise further improvements for cardiovascular disease, such as spectral CT, phase contrast CT or nanoparticle contrast agents. However, many challenges remain for their translation to patients.

Submitted by (@davidcormode)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Spectral and phase contrast CT promise enhanced diagnoses of cardiovascular disease due to their improved soft tissue contrast and increased sensitivity towards contrast agents. Novel contrast agents are starting to allow molecular imaging with CT. These technologies could allow sophisticated characterization of atherosclerotic plaque and other diseases. This would provide enhanced diagnoses, tailored treatments and monitoring of response to therapies.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Improvements and innovations need to be made in beam filtration, detector systems, electronics and image reconstruction algorithms to allow clinical versions of spectral and phase contrast CT systems to be developed that have similar performance in terms of speed and radiation dose of current clinical systems. Investments need to be made in the development of novel, targeted nanoparticle contrast agent materials and studying their safety prior to clinical trials. While these are very significant challenges, with innovative approaches it should be possible to overcome these problems.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Cormode

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3 up votes
12 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Quantitative imaging biomarkers for chronic lung disease

Critical Challenge

Submitted by (@str0001)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Methods for stratifying patients with diffuse lung disease are crucial for predicting their clinical course and directing appropriate therapies accordingly. Currently imaging markers for prognostic stratification are limited, due to observer variability in characterizing the type and degree of computed tomography (CT) abnormalities. A reproducible method for categorizing varying diffuse lung diseases on CT imaging is needed, particularly in combination with other biomarkers in a multidisciplinary approach. With lung cancer screening, the characterization and stratification of patients with varying COPD phenotypes and interstitial lung disease are essential to aid in management of the large number of patients who currently satisfy criteria for CT lung cancer screening.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Currently the classification of diffuse lung disease on CT is based upon visual evaluation and qualitative or semi-quantitative evaluation of CT data. Diffuse lung disease manifests with varying CT findings and distribution within the lung. Computer-assisted tools for quantifying airways and parenchymal disease have been developed. More-sophisticated quantitative computer image-analysis methods, such as those that address three-dimensional spatial orientation, are possible given advances in computer capabilities yet remain in need of further development. Advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MR) technology, positron emission tomography (PET), and PET/MR will increase the ability to characterize diffuse lung disease quantitatively. The ability of such technology to differentiate subtypes within more frequently occurring and clinically-significant diffuse lung disease is feasible. Such tools would impact a large population, particularly given the potential need to phenotype emphysema and smoking-related interstitial pneumonias in those undergoing CT screening.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Society of Thoracic Radiology

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