Joint BME and ECE Seminar: Dr. Martin Rodriquez-Porcel, M.D.
Diagnosing Cardiovascular Disease: A Clinical Perspective
Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of morbidity and mortality in the western world and a cause of significant cost in health care. Many of the cardiovascular events (heart attacks) occur without clear and identifiable warning with the current tools that the clinician has available. Thus, it became critical to understand the biological variables that can make a person have a heart attack. It has been known from autopsy and animal studies that changes in atherosclerosis biology start early in the atherosclerotic process, with dysfunction of the endothelium pointed as an indicator of early disease. Furthermore, it has been clear for some time that formation of new vessels (neovascularization) is an early process and is associated with endothelial dysfunction and plaque instability, making it an attractive target to understand plaque biology.
In view of that, we have focused on the assessment of endothelial dysfunction and neovascularization in a hypercholesterolemic (HC) and hypertensive (HT) swine model of coronary disease (HC and HT are the two most common cardiovascular risk factors). Using state of the art imaging modalities, combined with traditional ex vivo techniques, we have characterized the vascular structure and function that occur in the coronary tree of HC and HT animals, and how they translate into changes in end-organ (heart) perfusion. Furthermore, we used this large animal platform to test how novel therapies can modulate the progression of atherosclerotic disease.
In this seminar we will also discuss how the development of novel molecular imaging modalities can impact our understanding on coronary heart disease and the implications for the future.