Frans J Th Wackers, MD, PhD

Professor Emeritus of Diagnostic Radiology

Research Organizations

Cardiovascular Medicine

Diagnostic Radiology

Research Summary

Clinical Applications of Radionuclide Cardiac Imaging; Computer Image Quantification

Radionuclide cardiac imaging allows for noninvasive assessment of cardiac function and regional blood flow. Dr. Wackers’ interest is specifically directed towards cardiac imaging of patients with acute ischemic syndromes: acute infarction and unstable angina. Radionuclide imaging is an intrinsically quantitative methodology since emanated photons generate digital image data. Quantification of images is of clinical importance since the degree of abnormalities is directly related to patients¹ prognosis and outcomes.

Work in our laboratory has shown that acute ischemia can reliably be detected by noninvasive imaging of intravenously administered radiotracers that accumulate in the heart proportional to blood flow. In acute heart attacks the area at risk for infarction can be visualized and quantified. The results and effectiveness of interventions that restore blood flow can thus be quantified noninvasively as well. We have pioneered the use of radionuclide imaging for evaluating and triaging patients with acute chest pain in the emergency department. A long time focus of research and development in our laboratory has been on the reliable and reproducible quantification of regional abnormalities in blood flow during physical and pharmacological stress. These methods have been applied to a number of clinical trials with new radiotracers.

The laboratory has also been the central radionuclide core laboratory for numerous multicenter clinical trials using radionuclide imaging as endpoints. The laboratory has the capability to convert image data acquired on a wide variety of computers to one uniform format, for uniform image data analysis. The laboratory performed comparative studies on the clinical effectiveness using a number of new radiotracers for cardiac imaging under a variety of acute and chronic clinical conditions. Another recent area of interest is the development of pathways and algorithms for optimal and cost-effective utilization of various noninvasive imaging modalities.

Selected Publications

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