Addressing the Heart of the Issue
In industrialized countries, more people die from heart disease than from any other cause. Heart disease not only increases the risk of death, but also reduces people’s quality of life. Almost one-quarter of Canadians over the age of 70 report heart problems, suffer a decline in health and restriction of activity, and require routine assistance with the daily necessities of life. Over the last 30 years, extensive research has led to many life-saving technologies, including cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging, to reveal the presence of heart disease and aid health practitioners, patients and their families when making treatment decisions. However, without major advances, such as real-time interactive CMR imaging, patients will not see the full benefits of CMR technology for guiding therapy choices. As Canada Research Chair in Imaging for Cardiovascular Therapeutics, Dr. Graham A. Wright hopes to improve treatment planning, intervention guidance and outcome monitoring for heart patients through advances in CMR imaging. Specifically, Wright is developing new methods to map out the heart’s anatomy and physiology using real-time imaging, and combining new sensing technology with minimally invasive devices to directly guide therapy decisions. Wright hopes to adapt these tools for patients with blocked blood vessels, irregular heart rates and damaged heart muscle, allowing them to more effectively manage their conditions. Better targeting of therapies, together with improved outcome monitoring, will have a substantial impact on the lives of many Canadians.