Multimodal Cardiovascular and Neurocardiological Imaging
More than 20 years ago, the first Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner in Italy was installed at the San Cataldo-CNR Hospital for cardiac applications in both adults and children.
Thanks also to collaboration with research organisations and industry, the centre has grown to represent a national and international scientific benchmark, also carrying out intensive training activities for doctors and technicians from all over Italy and abroad, as well as guaranteeing clinical quality excellence standards.
Today, the Multimodal Cardiovascular and Neuroradiological Imaging Unit, thanks to the joint work of medical radiologists, neuroradiologists, cardiologists, medical radiology technicians, nurses, engineers and physicists, carries out MRI examinations in the adult and paediatric cardiovascular fields (cardiac MRI, MRI of the aorta and great vessels, cardiac stress MRI, MRI for the diagnosis of congenital heart disease), and neuroradiology (MRI of the brain and brainstem, diffusion MRI, MRI of the intracranial vessels), using the most advanced techniques and processes.
Unlike other radiological methods, MRI does not involve ionising radiation in any way, as images are acquired through the use of static and variable magnetic fields, which allow the visualisation of protons present in the various tissues of the body, with dedicated 1.5Tesla and 3Tesla scanners: it is, therefore, an advanced, non-invasive, high-resolution imaging method that can be performed in adults and children, often even in the presence of metallic materials (prostheses, etc.) or electronic devices (pacemakers, defibrillators, loop-recorders, etc.) once their compatibility with the magnetic fields of the MRI has been ascertained.
The Unit provides care and assistance to approximately 4,500 cardiological patients and 1,500 neurological patients per year.
Care, research, innovation, training, close interaction with Research and Industry Bodies: this is the formula that has always distinguished our activities, and that has allowed us to become a reference point in Italy and Europe for advanced cardiovascular and neuroradiological imaging.
The MRI scanners currently in use are continuously updated and, thanks to the constant collaboration with engineers and physicists from the organisation’s Bioengineering Unit and CNR researchers, the most advanced protocols are tested and implemented, ensuring optimal diagnostic accuracy.
The Unit provides diagnostic services for outpatients and patients admitted to the Monasterio, or even those referred from other hospitals.
There are dedicated pathways for booking and carrying out specific examinations, such as those for pacemakers/defibrillators, for claustrophobic patients, for paediatric patients, or those admitted to other hospital facilities.
In addition, the Unit has always worked in close collaboration with other specialists at Monasterio and other hospitals for diagnostic protocols and studies on particular pathologies (myocarditis, cardiomyopathies, amyloidosis, haemochromatosis, connective tissue diseases, etc.), as part of a broader multimodal diagnostic pathway, which involves close interaction between different specialist skills.
Research and scientific activity
Since its establishment, the Multimodal Cardiovascular and Neuroradiological Imaging Unit has been carrying out research activities in collaboration with the CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, the University of Pisa, the Scuola Superiore “Sant’Anna”, the Scuola Normale Superiore, the IMT di Lucca and many Italian and Foreign Universities.
Thanks to the considerable research activity in the clinical field and technological innovation, there are numerous publications in leading international scientific journals, also in collaboration with leading national and international scientific societies, as well as numerous studies and projects that have been carried out, often winning funding from national and international competitive calls for tenders.
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