The heart is an extraordinary electromechanical pump that circulates blood and provides the body with oxygen and nutrients which we need to survive and thereby it is the engine of life. Diseases of the heart and vasculature, also called cardiovascular disease, are the number one cause of death globally. To assess how healthy your heart is, investigation of both electrical activation and mechanical performance are required. Depending on the diagnostic objectives, either long-term ambulatory monitoring or advanced imaging is necessary. Previous projects have addressed functional analysis of the cardiac function. Here quantitative parametric characterization of cardiac geometry (size/shape), motion (contraction/relaxation), activation timing, strain and deformation, perfusion, ischemic and infarction areas and oedema are obtained from standard and functional images. This image data is mainly acquired by CT, MRI and ultrasound scanners.
For the future in this research area the aim is to introduce new technical advances for improved diagnosis and treatment. These advances will provide deep understanding and modelling of the full cardiac measurement chain from the underlying (patho)physiology, to the improved electronics for versatile and intelligent sensing systems, up to artificial intelligence for sensors and imaging formation strategies. Intensive collaboration with clinicians, like Prof. Lukas Dekker, will significantly improve patient-centred healthcare innovations.