The heart is an extraordinary electromechanical pump that makes blood circulate and provide oxygen and nutrients to all our cells. This is an essential function for our survival. Disease of the heart and vasculature, referred to as cardiovascular disease, is the number one cause of death globally. To assess the heart condition, both electrical and mechanical, advanced imaging and/or long-term ambulatory monitoring are needed. This is not only relevant for diagnostics, but also for treatment selection, guidance, and response.
At the BM/d lab, we develop new ultrasound and MRI imaging technologies to assess the cardiac morphology and function, including motion and strain (contraction/relaxation), activation timing, cardiac output, and myocardial perfusion. Investigation of the transpulmonary circulation is also extensively investigated by dynamic contrast-enhanced ultrasound and MRI. The lab is especially focussed on cardiac tissue characterization, aiming at the assessment of the viscoelastic properties and the detection of areas presenting ischemia (perfusion defect), fibrosis, and oedema. Our approach builds on deep understanding and modelling of the full measurement chain, from the underlying (patho)physiology, to the (improved) electronics for versatile and intelligent sensing, up to artificial intelligence for next-gen sensing and image formation strategies. Beyond imaging, we strive to enable long term monitoring of cardiovascular disease through advances in electrophysiological sensing (such as electrocardiography), photoplethysmography, oxygen saturation measurements, and patch-based wearable ultrasound for continuous flow assessment.
The cardiovascular research programs are carried out in collaboration with a number of clinical partners such as the Catharina Hospital Eindhoven, Amsterdam University Medical Center, and the University Medical Center Utrecht.