At the Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta at Piedmont Hospital, research trials are underway that utilize state-of-the-art diagnostic technology including Cardiac MRI and 64-slice Multi-detector CT. The Cardiovascular Research Department, the Fuqua Cardiovascular Imaging Center and the Fuqua Heart Center for Prevention have joined forces to develop these trials. The Cardiac Imaging Research Program is a leader in nationally sponsored trials and maintains a strong investigator-initiated clinical trials development program. The ambitions of the Cardiac Imaging Research Program are to explore the safety and efficacy of new diagnostic techniques, to develop and apply novel imaging approaches in evaluating the burden and extent of vascular diseases, and to advance the diagnostic methodologies available for early detection and prevention of heart disease. In this endeavor, the program maintains a dedicated team of research coordinators, a state-of-the-art cardiac imaging research facility, and an exciting portfolio of clinical trials. Topical areas of investigation include:
Atherosclerotic Plaque Imaging and Characterization
This area of investigation targets such topics as atherosclerotic plaque regression with pharmaceutical agents that are thought to reverse the atherosclerotic process, including, but not limited to statins, intestinal cholesterol absorption inhibitors, CETP-inhibitors, synthetic HDL analogues, TZD’s, nicotinic acid, fish oil, etc. We are also interested in the development of post-processing tools for the assessment of plaque composition.
A major study in plaque characterization, the ATLANTA study, was developed at the Fuqua Heart Center by Szilard Voros, M.D. The purpose of this study is to perform a comprehensive evaluation of hemodynamically non-flowlimiting, but biologically active “intermediate” coronary arterial stenoses using a multimodality approach including CorCTA, invasive coronary angiography, IVUS, VH and fractional flow reserve (FFR). The study follows patients for a mean of 12 months and observes events related to coronary artery plaques observed at baseline evaluation. Features of atherosclerotic plaques are identified and associated with clinical events.
Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction Studies are focusing on new methods to calculate the ejection fraction of the left ventricular. CT measurement of the ejection fraction is relatively new and the gold standard of the measurement is cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). Patients who are referred for a coronary arterial CTA are asked to participate in a study. Such studies provide additional information on the function of the heart and help to validate the new CT method for the measurement of the ejection fraction.
With their consent, patients referred to the Fuqua Heart Center of Atlanta at Piedmont Hospital are included in a DNA registry of patients for genotype and phenotype analysis. Planned projects involve atherosclerosis phenotyping, which includes atherosclerotic plaque imaging in different vascular beds as well as quantitative and qualitative measurements of atherosclerotic plaques and plaque components. We are also interested in performing coronary artery calcium scanning on selected patients for genotype-phenotype correlation analysis.