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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2012 August;60(4):347-62

language: English

Role of cardiac imaging in heart failure

Todiere G. 1, 2, Marzilli M. 1

1 University of Pisa , Pisa, Italy;
2 MRI-lab, G. Monasterio Foundation, Regione Toscana, Pisa, Italy


Heart failure is the leading cause of mortality and rehospitalization in Western countries. With the development of new technologies applied to medical diagnostic pathways, cardiovascular imaging has rapidly gained ground. Therefore, the clinical cardiologist has to keep updated on the management of such innovative diagnostic tools which were once the exclusive domain of radiologists. The need to understand a new language is fundamental for the selection of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in patients with heart failure, which is often the final destination for many cardiovascular diseases. Alongside standard diagnostic techniques such as chest radiography two-dimensional ultrasound and cardiac color Doppler, all of which are indispensable in daily practice, innovative tools have been defining their incremental role in cardiovascular imaging. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), cardiac computed tomography (CT), speckle tracking, 3D echocardiography, new applications in nuclear medicine (SPECT MIBG), and “cardiac hybrid imaging” are emerging for research and are also playing a pivotal role in the clinical scenario. These techniques are useful the for non-invasive acquisition of diagnostic and prognostic information in heart failure. Whether the radiological and economic impact of these new technologies is sustainable is a question the clinical cardiologist will need to answer when considering the cost/benefit of the diagnostic tool selected among these methods.

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