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1.  The Role of Imaging in Aortic Valve Disease 
Purpose of Review
Aortic valve disease is the most common form of heart valve disease in developed countries. Imaging remains central to the diagnosis and risk stratification of patients with both aortic stenosis and regurgitation and has traditionally been performed with echocardiography. Indeed, echocardiography remains the cornerstone of aortic valve imaging as it is cheap, widely available and provides critical information concerning valve hemodynamics and ventricular function.
Recent Findings
Whilst diagnostic in the vast majority of patients, echocardiography has certain limitations including operator variability, potential for measurement errors and internal inconsistencies in severity grading. In particular, low-gradient severe aortic stenosis is common and challenging to diagnose. Aortic valve imaging may therefore be improved with alternative and complimentary multimodality approaches.
This review investigates established and novel techniques for imaging both the aortic valve and the myocardial remodelling response including echocardiography, computed tomography, cardiovascular magnetic resonance and positron emission tomography. Moreover, we examine how the complementary information provided by each modality may be used in both future clinical practice and the research arena.
PMCID: PMC4896976  PMID: 27375833
Valve; Stenosis; Regurgitation; Magnetic resonance imaging; Echocardiography; Computed tomography; Positron emission tomography
6.  Reference values for healthy human myocardium using a T1 mapping methodology: results from the International T1 Multicenter cardiovascular magnetic resonance study 
T1 mapping is a robust and highly reproducible application to quantify myocardial relaxation of longitudinal magnetisation. Available T1 mapping methods are presently site and vendor specific, with variable accuracy and precision of T1 values between the systems and sequences. We assessed the transferability of a T1 mapping method and determined the reference values of healthy human myocardium in a multicenter setting.
Healthy subjects (n = 102; mean age 41 years (range 17–83), male, n = 53 (52%)), with no previous medical history, and normotensive low risk subjects (n=113) referred for clinical cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) were examined. Further inclusion criteria for all were absence of regular medication and subsequently normal findings of routine CMR. All subjects underwent T1 mapping using a uniform imaging set-up (modified Look- Locker inversion recovery, MOLLI, using scheme 3(3)3(3)5)) on 1.5 Tesla (T) and 3 T Philips scanners. Native T1-maps were acquired in a single midventricular short axis slice and repeated 20 minutes following gadobutrol. Reference values were obtained for native T1 and gadolinium-based partition coefficients, λ and extracellular volume fraction (ECV) in a core lab using standardized postprocessing.
In healthy controls, mean native T1 values were 950 ± 21 msec at 1.5 T and 1052 ± 23 at 3 T. λ and ECV values were 0.44 ± 0.06 and 0.25 ± 0.04 at 1.5 T, and 0.44 ± 0.07 and 0.26 ± 0.04 at 3 T, respectively. There were no significant differences between healthy controls and low risk subjects in routine CMR parameters and T1 values. The entire cohort showed no correlation between age, gender and native T1. Cross-center comparisons of mean values showed no significant difference for any of the T1 indices at any field strength. There were considerable regional differences in segmental T1 values. λ and ECV were found to be dose dependent. There was excellent inter- and intraobserver reproducibility for measurement of native septal T1.
We show transferability for a unifying T1 mapping methodology in a multicenter setting. We provide reference ranges for T1 values in healthy human myocardium, which can be applied across participating sites.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12968-014-0069-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4203908  PMID: 25384607
T1 mapping; Reference values; Multicenter study; MOLLI; Native T1; ECV
7.  Coronary microvascular ischemia in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - a pixel-wise quantitative cardiovascular magnetic resonance perfusion study 
Microvascular dysfunction in HCM has been associated with adverse clinical outcomes. Advances in quantitative cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) perfusion imaging now allow myocardial blood flow to be quantified at the pixel level. We applied these techniques to investigate the spectrum of microvascular dysfunction in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and to explore its relationship with fibrosis and wall thickness.
CMR perfusion imaging was undertaken during adenosine-induced hyperemia and again at rest in 35 patients together with late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging. Myocardial blood flow (MBF) was quantified on a pixel-by-pixel basis from CMR perfusion images using a Fermi-constrained deconvolution algorithm. Regions-of-interest (ROI) in hypoperfused and hyperemic myocardium were identified from the MBF pixel maps. The myocardium was also divided into 16 AHA segments.
Resting MBF was significantly higher in the endocardium than in the epicardium (mean ± SD: 1.25 ± 0.35 ml/g/min versus 1.20 ± 0.35 ml/g/min, P < 0.001), a pattern that reversed with stress (2.00 ± 0.76 ml/g/min versus 2.36 ± 0.83 ml/g/min, P < 0.001). ROI analysis revealed 11 (31%) patients with stress MBF lower than resting values (1.05 ± 0.39 ml/g/min versus 1.22 ± 0.36 ml/g/min, P = 0.021). There was a significant negative association between hyperemic MBF and wall thickness (β = −0.047 ml/g/min per mm, 95% CI: −0.057 to −0.038, P < 0.001) and a significantly lower probability of fibrosis in a segment with increasing hyperemic MBF (odds ratio per ml/g/min: 0.086, 95% CI: 0.078 to 0.095, P = 0.003).
Pixel-wise quantitative CMR perfusion imaging identifies a subgroup of patients with HCM that have localised severe microvascular dysfunction which may give rise to myocardial ischemia.
PMCID: PMC4145339  PMID: 25160568
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Perfusion; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Microvascular dysfunction; Sudden cardiac death
12.  Left ventricular remodeling and hypertrophy in patients with aortic stenosis: insights from cardiovascular magnetic resonance 
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is the gold standard non-invasive method for determining left ventricular (LV) mass and volume but has not been used previously to characterise the LV remodeling response in aortic stenosis. We sought to investigate the degree and patterns of hypertrophy in aortic stenosis using CMR.
Patients with moderate or severe aortic stenosis, normal coronary arteries and no other significant valve lesions or cardiomyopathy were scanned by CMR with valve severity assessed by planimetry and velocity mapping. The extent and patterns of hypertrophy were investigated using measurements of the LV mass index, indexed LV volumes and the LV mass/volume ratio. Asymmetric forms of remodeling and hypertrophy were defined by a regional wall thickening ≥13 mm and >1.5-fold the thickness of the opposing myocardial segment.
Ninety-one patients (61±21 years; 57 male) with aortic stenosis (aortic valve area 0.93±0.32cm2) were recruited. The severity of aortic stenosis was unrelated to the degree (r2=0.012, P=0.43) and pattern (P=0.22) of hypertrophy. By univariate analysis, only male sex demonstrated an association with LV mass index (P=0.02). Six patterns of LV adaption were observed: normal ventricular geometry (n=11), concentric remodeling (n=11), asymmetric remodeling (n=11), concentric hypertrophy (n=34), asymmetric hypertrophy (n=14) and LV decompensation (n=10). Asymmetric patterns displayed considerable overlap in appearances (wall thickness 17±2mm) with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
We have demonstrated that in patients with moderate and severe aortic stenosis, the pattern of LV adaption and degree of hypertrophy do not closely correlate with the severity of valve narrowing and that asymmetric patterns of wall thickening are common.
Trial registration Reference Number: NCT00930735
PMCID: PMC3457907  PMID: 22839417
Aortic valve disease; MRI; Cardiac remodeling
24.  Clinical deterioration after sildenafil cessation in patients with pulmonary hypertension 
Vascular Health and Risk Management  2008;4(5):1111-1113.
Sildenafil is a selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5). Its chronic administration has been shown to improve exercise capacity, World Health Organization functional class, and haemodynamics in patients with symptomatic pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). There is however, no data describing the clinical consequences of sudden cessation of sildenafil treatment. In this series, 9 patients with NYHA Class II–IV PAH who were stable on 2 months of sildenafil monotherapy, had their sildenafil ceased to accommodate a 2-week washout period, required for enrollment in research involving an endothelin receptor antagonist. Six minute walk distance (SMWD) and clinical assessments were performed before cessation of sildenafil, and again 2 weeks later. Over the course of this 2-week washout period, 6 of the 9 patients reported increased breathlessness and fatigue, 1 of these was hospitalized with worsening right heart failure. The SMWD fell in 6 patients, with falls of greater than 100 m recorded in 4 patients. This was accompanied by a worsening of NYHA Class from 2.5 ± 0.2 to 3.1 ± 0.1 (mean ± SEM, p = 0.01). These data indicate that sudden cessation of sildenafil monotherapy, in patients with PAH, carries with it a significant and unpredictable risk of rapid clinical deterioration. We recommend that if sildenafil needs to be ceased, it would be more prudent to consider concurrent vasodilator therapy before the gradual cessation of sildenafil.
PMCID: PMC2605335  PMID: 19183760
sildenafil; pulmonary hypertension; phosphodiesterase inhibitor

Results 1-24 (24)