Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 311025
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: France

Final Report Summary - ULTRAECHOCARDIO (Ultrafast Imaging of the Heart Using Ultrasound: a breakthrough for early diagnosis of cardiac diseases)

In ULTRAECHOCARDIO, a new technology called ultrafast ultrasound imaging of the heart was developed by a multi-disciplinary team composed of engineers, physicists and cardiologists for the diagnostic of cardiac diseases. This new technology relies on the emission of diverging ultrasound waves at a high repetition rate in order to provide 5000 images/s of the heart. This ultrafast frame rate enables new imaging modalities such as non-invasive quantification of myocardial stiffness which is currently not possible in clinical practice with existing imaging tools. Myocardial stiffness is an important property which is altered in many cardiac conditions such as cardiomyopathies and heart failure. The development of quantitative myocardial stiffness imaging with ultrafast ultrasound was a major goal of the project. In addition, ultrafast imaging enables other novel imaging modalities including high sensitivity imaging of coronary blood flows, myocardial fiber tractography and electromechanical imaging. During the project, all these modalities were investigated and a prototype of ultrafast scanner was built for clinical investigations on human patients. The developed technology was validated on preclinical models, and then successfully evaluated for the first time on human patients and healthy volunteer. We demonstrated that ultrafast imaging can provide reliable measurements of myocardial stiffness in patients and can be used to diagnose abnormal myocardial stiffness. The clinical feasibility of ultrafast imaging for non-invasive coronary imaging with high sensitivity, as well as fiber tractography and electromechanical imaging was also demonstrated. We expect that ultrafast imaging of the heart will become rapidly a new diagnostic tool to achieve better and more reliable evaluation of the cardiac function.

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