Inflammation of cardiac muscle and vessels is the defining underlying pathophysiological mechanism of myocardial injury, as demonstrated in a recent paper by Winau et al in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases (the highest-ranking journal in the rheumatology field). Furthermore, the cardiac inflammation can be detected and monitored non-invasively and with no radiation, using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. The authors developed and validated an imaging signature of disease presence and its activity, which can serve as an algorithm to cardiac disease detection and monitoring of its activity, as well as may support the cardiac-focused adjustment of anti-inflammatory therapy. Thus, this important study offers a potential for tremendous progress towards a true paradigm shift in clinical management - away from the the non-sensitive, invasive and radiation-heavy methods, and towards patient-friendly and safe assessments (non-invasive, radiation- and for the major part – contrast agents-free), which can accurately inform on the disease presence, stage and severity, and gauge the treatment response.
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Prof Dr Eike Nagel
Director of the Institute for Experimental and Translational Cardiovascular Imaging, University Hospital Frankfurt