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1.  Mutation Positive Arrhyhmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy: The Triangle of Dysplasia Displaced 
The traditional description of the Triangle of Dysplasia in Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C) predates genetic testing and excludes biventricular phenotypes.
Methods and Results
We analyzed Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) studies of 74 mutation-positive ARVD/C patients for regional abnormalities on a 5-segment RV and 17-segment LV model. The location of electroanatomic endo- and epicardial scar and site of successful VT ablation was recorded in 11 ARVD/C subjects. Among 54/74 (73%) subjects with abnormal CMR, the RV was abnormal in almost all (96%), and 52% had biventricular involvement. Isolated LV abnormalities were uncommon (4%). Dyskinetic basal inferior wall (94%) was the most prevalent RV abnormality, followed by basal anterior wall (87%) dyskinesis. Subepicardial fat infiltration in the posterolateral LV (80%) was the most frequent LV abnormality. Similar to CMR data, voltage maps revealed scar (<0.5 mV) in the RV basal inferior wall (100%), followed by the RV basal anterior wall (64%) and LV posterolateral wall (45%). All 16 RV VTs originated from the basal inferior wall (50%) or basal anterior wall (50%). Of 3 LV VTs, 2 localized to the posterolateral wall. In both modalities, RV apical involvement never occurred in isolation.
Mutation-positive ARVD/C exhibits a previously unrecognized characteristic pattern of disease involving the basal inferior and anterior RV, and the posterolateral LV. The RV apex is only involved in advanced ARVD/C, typically as a part of global RV involvement. These results displace the RV apex from the Triangle of Dysplasia, and provide insights into the pathophysiology of ARVD/C.
PMCID: PMC3971054  PMID: 23889974
Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy; magnetic resonance imaging; electroanatomic mapping; ventricular tachcardia; phenotype; genetics; implantable cardioverter defibrillator
2.  A fast nonlinear regression method for estimating permeability in CT perfusion imaging 
Blood–brain barrier damage, which can be quantified by measuring vascular permeability, is a potential predictor for hemorrhagic transformation in acute ischemic stroke. Permeability is commonly estimated by applying Patlak analysis to computed tomography (CT) perfusion data, but this method lacks precision. Applying more elaborate kinetic models by means of nonlinear regression (NLR) may improve precision, but is more time consuming and therefore less appropriate in an acute stroke setting. We propose a simplified NLR method that may be faster and still precise enough for clinical use. The aim of this study is to evaluate the reliability of in total 12 variations of Patlak analysis and NLR methods, including the simplified NLR method. Confidence intervals for the permeability estimates were evaluated using simulated CT attenuation–time curves with realistic noise, and clinical data from 20 patients. Although fixating the blood volume improved Patlak analysis, the NLR methods yielded significantly more reliable estimates, but took up to 12 × longer to calculate. The simplified NLR method was ∼4 × faster than other NLR methods, while maintaining the same confidence intervals (CIs). In conclusion, the simplified NLR method is a new, reliable way to estimate permeability in stroke, fast enough for clinical application in an acute stroke setting.
PMCID: PMC3824172  PMID: 23881247
CT perfusion; DCE-CT imaging; nonlinear regression; Patlak plot; permeability
3.  Computed Tomography Angiography Spot Sign Does Not Predict Case Fatality in Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage With Intraparenchymal Extension 
Background and Purpose
Many patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) with intraparenchymal extension develop early hematoma expansion, which is not explained by aneurysmal rerupture in half of cases. In patients with primary intracerebral hemorrhage, the computed tomography angiography (CTA) spot sign predicts hematoma expansion and poor outcome. We conducted a 2-center prospective cohort study to evaluate whether CTA spot sign predicts case fatality in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage with intraparenchymal extension.
We studied consecutive patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage with intraparenchymal extension. Two experienced readers, blinded to clinical data, analyzed CTAs for spot sign presence. We assessed the proportion of patients with the CTA spot sign and tested its association with in-hospital and 90-day case fatality, using univariable and multivariable logistic regression.
In 32 of 236 patients (14%), we found at least 1 spot sign. Acute surgical hematoma evacuation with aneurysm occlusion occurred in 120 patients (51%). The overall in-hospital case fatality rate was 37%. The CTA spot sign was not associated with in-hospital (multivariable odds ratio, 0.51 [95% confidence interval, 0.06–3.26]) or 90-day (multivariable odds ratio, 0.59 [0.21–1.65]) case fatality.
The found frequency of CTA spot signs is lower after aneurysmal than primary intracerebral hemorrhage and is not associated with in-hospital or 90-day case fatality in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage with intraparenchymal extension.
PMCID: PMC3707618  PMID: 23572475
CTA spot sign; in-hospital death; intracerebral hemorrhage; subarachnoid hemorrhage
4.  Comparison of Partial Volume Effects in Arterial and Venous Contrast Curves in CT Brain Perfusion Imaging 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97586.
In brain CT perfusion (CTP), the arterial contrast bolus is scaled to have the same area under the curve (AUC) as the venous outflow to correct for partial volume effects (PVE). This scaling is based on the assumption that large veins are unaffected by PVE. Measurement of the internal carotid artery (ICA), usually unaffected by PVE due to its large diameter, may avoid the need for partial volume correction. The aims of this work are to examine i) the assumptions behind PVE correction and ii) the potential of selecting the ICA obviating correction for PVE.
The AUC of the ICA and sagittal sinus were measured in CTP datasets from 52 patients. The AUCs were determined by i) using commercial CTP software based on a Gaussian curve-fitting to the time attenuation curve, and ii) by simple integration of the time attenuation curve over a time interval. In addition, frames acquired up to 3 minutes after first bolus passage were used to examine the ratio of arterial and venous enhancement. The impact of selecting the ICA without PVE correction was illustrated by reporting cerebral blood volume (CBV) measurements.
In 49 of 52 patients, the AUC of the ICA was significantly larger than that of the sagittal sinus (p = 0.017). Measured after the first pass bolus, contrast enhancement remained 50% higher in the ICA just after the first pass bolus, and 30% higher 3 minutes later. CBV measurements were significantly lowered when the ICA was used without PVE correction.
Contradicting the assumptions underlying PVE correction, contrast in the ICA was significantly higher than in the sagittal sinus, even 3 minutes after the first pass of the contrast bolus. PVE correction might lead to overestimation of CBV if the CBV is calculated using the AUC of the time attenuation curves.
PMCID: PMC4032231  PMID: 24858308
5.  Prediction of outcome in patients with suspected acute ischaemic stroke with CT perfusion and CT angiography: the Dutch acute stroke trial (DUST) study protocol 
BMC Neurology  2014;14:37.
Prediction of clinical outcome in the acute stage of ischaemic stroke can be difficult when based on patient characteristics, clinical findings and on non-contrast CT. CT perfusion and CT angiography may provide additional prognostic information and guide treatment in the early stage. We present the study protocol of the Dutch acute Stroke Trial (DUST). The DUST aims to assess the prognostic value of CT perfusion and CT angiography in predicting stroke outcome, in addition to patient characteristics and non-contrast CT. For this purpose, individualised prediction models for clinical outcome after stroke based on the best predictors from patient characteristics and CT imaging will be developed and validated.
The DUST is a prospective multi-centre cohort study in 1500 patients with suspected acute ischaemic stroke. All patients undergo non-contrast CT, CT perfusion and CT angiography within 9 hours after onset of the neurological deficits, and, if possible, follow-up imaging after 3 days. The primary outcome is a dichotomised score on the modified Rankin Scale, assessed at 90 days. A score of 0–2 represents good outcome, and a score of 3–6 represents poor outcome. Three logistic regression models will be developed, including patient characteristics and non-contrast CT (model A), with addition of CT angiography (model B), and CT perfusion parameters (model C). Model derivation will be performed in 60% of the study population, and model validation in the remaining 40% of the patients. Additional prognostic value of the models will be determined with the area under the curve (AUC) from the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, calibration plots, assessment of goodness-of-fit, and likelihood ratio tests.
This study will provide insight in the added prognostic value of CTP and CTA parameters in outcome prediction of acute stroke patients. The prediction models that will be developed in this study may help guide future treatment decisions in the acute stage of ischaemic stroke.
PMCID: PMC3939816  PMID: 24568540
Stroke; Ischaemia; Infarct; Prediction; CT perfusion; CT angiography
6.  Histopathologic Composition of Cerebral Thrombi of Acute Stroke Patients Is Correlated with Stroke Subtype and Thrombus Attenuation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88882.
We related composition of cerebral thrombi to stroke subtype and attenuation on non-contrast CT (NCCT) to gain more insight in etiopathogenesis and to validate thrombus attenuation as a new imaging biomarker for acute stroke.
We histopathologically investigated 22 thrombi retrieved after mechanical thrombectomy in acute stroke patients. First, thrombi were classified as fresh, lytic or organized. Second, percentages of red blood cells (RBCs), platelets and fibrin and number of red, white (respectively RBCs or platelets outnumbering other components with ≥15%) or mixed thrombi were compared between large artery atherosclerosis (LAA), cardioembolism, dissection and unknown subtype. Third, correlation between attenuation and RBCs, platelets and fibrin was calculated using Pearson's correlation coefficients (r).
Thrombi were fresh in 73% (n = 16), lytic in 18% (n = 4) and organized in 9% (n = 2). The stroke cause was LAA in eight (36%), cardioembolism in six (27%), dissection in three (14%), and unknown in five (23%) patients. LAA thrombi showed the highest percentage RBCs (median 50 (range 35–90)), followed by dissection (35 (20–40), p = 0.05), cardioembolism (35 (5–45), p = 0.013) and unknown subtype (25 (2–40), p = 0.006). No differences in platelets (p = 0.16) and fibrin (p = 0.52) between subtypes were found. LAA thrombi were classified as red or mixed (both n = 4), cardioembolisms as mixed (n = 5) or white (n = 1) and dissection as mixed (n = 3). There was a moderate positive correlation between attenuation and RBCs (r = 0.401, p = 0.049), and weak negative correlations with platelets (r = −0.368, p = 0.09) and fibrin (r = −0.073, p = 0.75).
The majority of cerebral thrombi is fresh. There are no differences in age of thrombi between subtypes. LAA thrombi have highest percentages RBCs, cardioembolism and unknown subtype lowest. No relationship exists between subtype and platelets or fibrin percentages. We found a correlation between the RBC-component and thrombus attenuation, which improves validation of thrombus attenuation on NCCT as an imaging biomarker for stroke management.
PMCID: PMC3921255  PMID: 24523944
7.  Reliability of Visual Assessment of Non-Contrast CT, CT Angiography Source Images and CT Perfusion in Patients with Suspected Ischemic Stroke 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75615.
Background and Purpose
Good reliability of methods to assess the extent of ischemia in acute stroke is important for implementation in clinical practice, especially between observers with varying experience. Our aim was to determine inter- and intra-observer reliability of the 1/3 middle cerebral artery (MCA) rule and the Alberta Stroke Program Early CT Score (ASPECTS) for different CT modalities in patients suspected of acute ischemic stroke.
We prospectively included 105 patients with acute neurological deficit due to suspected acute ischemic stroke within 9 hours after symptom onset. All patients underwent non-contrast CT, CT perfusion and CT angiography on admission. All images were evaluated twice for presence of ischemia, ischemia with >1/3 MCA involvement, and ASPECTS. Four observers evaluated twenty scans twice for intra-observer agreement. We used kappa statistics and intraclass correlation coefficient to calculate agreement.
Inter-observer agreement for the 1/3 MCA rule and ASPECTS was fair to good for non-contrast CT, poor to good for CT angiography source images, but excellent for all CT perfusion maps (cerebral blood volume, mean transit time, and predicted penumbra and infarct maps). Intra-observer agreement for the 1/3 MCA rule and ASPECTS was poor to good for non-contrast CT, fair to moderate for CT angiography source images, and good to excellent for all CT perfusion maps.
Between observers with a different level of experience, agreement on the radiological diagnosis of cerebral ischemia is much better for CT perfusion than for non-contrast CT and CT angiography source images, and therefore CT perfusion is a very reliable addition to standard stroke imaging.
PMCID: PMC3792960  PMID: 24116061
8.  Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis is prevalent in cardiorenal patients but not associated with left ventricular function and myocardial fibrosis as assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging 
Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (ARAS) is common in cardiovascular diseases and associated with hypertension, renal dysfunction and/or heart failure. There is a paucity of data about the prevalence and the role of ARAS in the pathophysiology of combined chronic heart failure (CHF) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). We investigated the prevalence in patients with combined CHF/CKD and its association with renal function, cardiac dysfunction and the presence and extent of myocardial fibrosis.
The EPOCARES study (ClinTrialsNCT00356733) investigates the role of erythropoietin in anaemic patients with combined CHF/CKD. Eligible subjects underwent combined cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI), including late gadolinium enhancement, with magnetic resonance angiography of the renal arteries (MRA).
MR study was performed in 37 patients (median age 74 years, eGFR 37.4 ± 15.6 ml/min, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) 43.3 ± 11.2%), of which 21 (56.8%) had ARAS (defined as stenosis >50%). Of these 21 subjects, 8 (21.6%) had more severe ARAS >70% and 8 (21.6%) had a bilateral ARAS >50% (or previous bilateral PTA). There were no differences in age, NT-proBNP levels and medication profile between patients with ARAS versus those without. Renal function declined with the severity of ARAS (p = 0.03), although this was not significantly different between patients with ARAS versus those without. Diabetes mellitus was more prevalent in patients without ARAS (56.3%) against those with ARAS (23.8%) (p = 0.04). The presence and extent of late gadolinium enhancement, depicting myocardial fibrosis, did not differ (p = 0.80), nor did end diastolic volume (p = 0.60), left ventricular mass index (p = 0.11) or LVEF (p = 0.15). Neither was there a difference in the presence of an ischemic pattern of late enhancement in patients with ARAS versus those without.
ARAS is prevalent in combined CHF/CKD and its severity is associated with a decline in renal function. However, its presence does not correlate with a worse LVEF, a higher left ventricular mass or with the presence and extent of myocardial fibrosis. Further research is required for the role of ARAS in the pathophysiology of combined chronic heart and renal failure.
PMCID: PMC3470969  PMID: 22989293
Cardiorenal failure; Atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis; Magnetic resonance imaging; Late gadolinium enhancement
10.  Screening for proximal coronary artery anomalies with 3-dimensional MR coronary angiography 
Under 35 years of age, 14% of sudden cardiac death in athletes is caused by a coronary artery anomaly (CAA). Free-breathing 3-dimensional magnetic resonance coronary angiography (3D-MRCA) has the potential to screen for CAA in athletes and non-athletes as an addition to a clinical cardiac MRI protocol. A 360 healthy men and women (207 athletes and 153 non-athletes) aged 18–60 years (mean age 31 ± 11 years, 37% women) underwent standard cardiac MRI with an additional 3D-MRCA within a maximum of 10 min scan time. The 3D-MRCA was screened for CAA. A 335 (93%) subjects had a technically satisfactory 3D-MRCA of which 4 (1%) showed a malignant variant of the right coronary artery (RCA) origin running between the aorta and the pulmonary trunk. Additional findings included three subjects with ventral rotation of the RCA with kinking and possible proximal stenosis, one person with additional stenosis and six persons with proximal myocardial bridging of the left anterior descending coronary artery. Coronary CT-angiography (CTA) was offered to persons with CAA (the CAA was confirmed in three, while one person declined CTA) and stenosis (the ventral rotation of the RCA was confirmed in two but without stenosis, while two people declined CTA). Overall 3D MRCA quality was better in athletes due to lower heart rates resulting in longer end-diastolic resting periods. This also enabled faster scan sequences. A 3D-MRCA can be used as part of the standard cardiac MRI protocol to screen young competitive athletes and non-athletes for anomalous proximal coronary arteries.
PMCID: PMC2898111  PMID: 20339919
Athletes; Magnetic resonance coronary angiography; Coronary artery anomalies; Coronary artery disease; Myocardial bridging
11.  Relationship between vasospasm, cerebral perfusion, and delayed cerebral ischemia after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage 
Neuroradiology  2009;51(12):813-819.
Vasospasm after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is thought to cause ischemia. To evaluate the contribution of vasospasm to delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI), we investigated the effect of vasospasm on cerebral perfusion and the relationship of vasospasm with DCI.
We studied 37 consecutive SAH patients with CT angiography (CTA) and CT perfusion (CTP) on admission and within 14 days after admission or at time of clinical deterioration. CTP values (cerebral blood volume, cerebral blood flow (CBF) and mean transit time), degree of vasospasm on CTA, and occurrence of DCI were recorded. Vasospasm was categorized as follows: no spasm (0–25% decrease in vessel diameter), moderate spasm (25–50% decrease), and severe spasm (>50% decrease). The correspondence of the flow territory of the most spastic vessel with the least perfused region was evaluated, and differences in perfusion values and occurrence of DCI between degrees of vasospasm were calculated with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).
Fourteen patients had no vasospasm, 16 were moderate, and seven were severe. In 65% of patients with spasm, the flow territory of the most spastic vessel corresponded with the least perfused region. There was significant CBF (milliliters per 100 g per minute) difference (−21.3; 95% CI, −37 ↔ −5.3) between flow territories of severe and no vasospasm. Four of seven patients with severe, six of 16 with moderate, and three of 14 patients with no vasospasm had DCI.
Vasospasm decreases cerebral perfusion, but corresponds with the least perfused region in only two thirds of our patients. Furthermore, almost half of patients with severe vasospasm do not have DCI. Thus, although severe vasospasm can decrease perfusion, it may not result in DCI.
PMCID: PMC2773037  PMID: 19623472
Subarachnoid hemorrhage; Vasospasm; Delayed cerebral ischemia; CT perfusion
12.  Non-invasive cardiac assessment in high risk patients (The GROUND study): rationale, objectives and design of a multi-center randomized controlled clinical trial 
Trials  2008;9:49.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common disease associated with a considerably increased risk of future cardiovascular events and most of these patients will die from coronary artery disease (CAD). Screening for silent CAD has become an option with recent non-invasive developments in CT (computed tomography)-angiography and MR (magnetic resonance) stress testing. Screening in combination with more aggressive treatment may improve prognosis. Therefore we propose to study whether a cardiac imaging algorithm, using non-invasive imaging techniques followed by treatment will reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in PAD patients free from cardiac symptoms.
The GROUND study is designed as a prospective, multi-center, randomized clinical trial. Patients with peripheral arterial disease, but without symptomatic cardiac disease will be asked to participate. All patients receive a proper risk factor management before randomization. Half of the recruited patients will enter the 'control group' and only undergo CT calcium scoring. The other half of the recruited patients (index group) will undergo the non invasive cardiac imaging algorithm followed by evidence-based treatment. First, patients are submitted to CT calcium scoring and CT angiography. Patients with a left main (or equivalent) coronary artery stenosis of > 50% on CT will be referred to a cardiologist without further imaging. All other patients in this group will undergo dobutamine stress magnetic resonance (DSMR) testing. Patients with a DSMR positive for ischemia will also be referred to a cardiologist. These patients are candidates for conventional coronary angiography and cardiac interventions (coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or percutaneous cardiac interventions (PCI)), if indicated. All participants of the trial will enter a 5 year follow up period for the occurrence of cardiovascular events. Sequential interim analysis will take place. Based on sample size calculations about 1200 patients are needed to detect a 24% reduction in primary outcome.
The GROUND study will provide insight into the question whether non-invasive cardiac imaging reduces the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with peripheral arterial disease, but without symptoms of coronary artery disease.
Trial registration NCT00189111
PMCID: PMC2519056  PMID: 18673542

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