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Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging

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Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging, 9780849333774 (0849333776), CRC Press, 2007
Interest in clinical cardiovascular imaging has skyrocketed over the past quarter century. Dozens of new imaging modalities have arisen from advances in the physical sciences, electrical engineering, information technology, chemical synthesis, and in pharmacology. Mostly driven by newly developed technology, these advances have been of great benefi t to clinical cardiology. This is especially true in the fi eld of structural imaging of the heart and great vessels. This book will educate the reader about a new frontier: the molecular basis of functional imaging of the cardiovascular system.

The reader will appreciate the enormous progress made in functional imaging of a complex biological system. Indeed, we are now able to visualize such dynamic processes as changes in gene expression, changes in immune response, changes in intermediary metabolism of energy-providing substrates, and changes in programmed cell death and programmed cell survival—to name just a few examples.

Will the knowledge collected and presented in this book make the reader a better, more effective clinical decision maker? The editors believe the answer is a clear “yes.” For example, the use of positron emitting tracers combined with computed tomography has already signifi cantly improved the diagnosis and management of patients with ischemic heart disease. The use of ultrasound contrast agents for left ventricular opacifi cation and myocardial perfusion has revolutionized echocardiography. The use of magnetic resonance imaging defi nes not only scar tissue, but also fi brosis. Add to this the impressive array of techniques, including three-dimensional echocardiography, multi-slice computed tomography, and multi-modality imaging. Also consider the new ways to detect stem cells in dysfunctional or infarcted myocardium and infl ammatory processes in the arterial wall. The opportunities for the precise diagnosis and management of cardiovascular diseases seem unlimited.

With all this enthusiasm, a word of caution is in order: in spite of enormous progress, there is still a paucity of research on the reproducibility of imaging, quality assessment, and the incremental benefi ts of imaging in medical decision making. A reasonable starting point is therefore a critical review of the molecular basis for contemporary cardiovascular imaging. Understanding the molecular principles of specifi c imaging techniques also provides an appreciation of the strengths and limitations of each new technique. Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging meets the needs of clinicians and translational scientists working at the very forefront of an exciting, rapidly growing fi eld of biomedical research. Right now there is still a striking disconnect between a high demand and a low level of evidence for cardiovascular imaging. The book is a step in the right direction to eliminate this disconnect.

The editors are especially grateful to Vanessa Sanchez and Alyssa Fried as well as the entire publishing staff at Informa Healthcare for their forbearance.
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