Vascular patients can often be treated with minimally invasive endovascular techniques. During these interventions, the cause of the disease and the effect of the treatment are often monitored with fluoroscopic modalities using ionizing radiation. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with an open configuration can overcome the problems caused by this type of radiation to both patients and operating team. Furthermore, lower magnetic field strengths affect the relaxation of certain contrast materials (super-paramagnetic iron-oxides, or SPIOs) differently. Additional benefits of performing MRI during endovascular interventions are the better soft tissue contrast, the use of safer contrast materials, the possibility to acquire non-coronal scans and improved ergonomics for the operating team since lead skirts are no longer required.
In the current status of this research phantom experiments are conducted with in-house developed flow phantoms using realistic blood flow velocities. The low-field MRI scanner by Esaote is perfectly suited for this kind of experiments due to its open configuration. Since MRI is not a form of ionizing radiation, healthy volunteers can be scanned during pilot studies (albeit without contrast materials). Furthermore, the tilting possibilities of this scanner can be considered as well in patients who underwent endovascular repair surgery to investigate the influence of gravity on leakage of the introduced endoprosthesis.
Several student projects are already established in this research field, but there is always room for new projects and collaborations with technical or clinical research partners. The abovementioned research is currently performed in cooperation with the vascular surgery department from Medisch Spectrum Twente. Contact person for setting up projects or reviewing possibilities for collaboration is Jordy van Zandwijk.