Introduction

During the past several decades, many diagnostic cardiovascular modalities have been developed. Combining these into multimodal imaging (MMI) creates enhanced decision support for clinical management of patients with cardiovascular disease.

Progression from additive consideration of the primary data from different modalities, to side-by-side comparison of the different images, to superimposition of the structural and functional characteristics of the different images, provides the increased understanding required for optimal improvement of clinical diagnosis. Multimodal imaging is also a way to continually update and reevaluate paradigms of individual diagnostic methods.

In this book, a team of distinguished authors—clinicians as well as computer scientists, mathematicians, and physicists—has been brought together to provide a wide range of aspects important to the development and use of MMI. The authors have been requested to confine their chapters to their own area of interest and expertise and to include both their current experiences and future considerations.

The chapters are divided into three sections based on the perspectives of the authors. Sections I and II contain chapters that focus on a single diagnostic modality and its broad application in clinical cardiovascular conditions. Section III contains chapters that focus on a single clinical condition and how MMI can provide decision support. This format provides duplication of information in chapters in the sections of the book.

In Table I–1, the imaging modalities included in the 17 chapters in Sections I and II are presented as columns, and the general clinical conditions for which they provide diagnostic capability are presented as rows. The modalities are ordered according to the sequence of chapters and are numbered from 1 to 17 accordingly. Some of the modalities are considered in more than one chapter in Section I.

Table I–1. Imaging Modalities in Sections I and II

Chapters in Section I include many modalities that currently produce direct images of cardiovascular structures and their function (eg, coronary angiography, echocardiography, SPECT, and magnetic resonance imaging). Because the inexpensive and widely available electrocardiogram (ECG) is now being developed into an imaging modality, several chapters are devoted to considering the perspectives of standard scalar ECG, spatial dipolar electrocardiotopographic [DECARTO] imaging, the inverse problem of ECG (ie, deducing cardiac excitation patterns from body surface recordings), and autonomic modulation. Section II covers ...

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