I got this idea when I started looking at perfusion in echo, which in the textbook was described as a promising contrast-enhanced ultrasound application, but the clinicians today almost never associate echo with perfusion whatsoever.
Before I go any further, let me explain what perfusion is. Perfusion refers to the delivery of oxygenated blood through the vessels and capillaries to the tissue, and perfusion imaging allows us to get functional information about specific anatomies that we are interested in.
For example, abnormal myocardial perfusion is dangerous to the patient, as it can indicate a higher risk of cardiac death, or myocardial infarction (MI). The abnormality suggests insufficient blood supply due to coronary artery stenosis or some other phenomena, and if detected, the patient can be treated appropriately to reduce or eliminate future heart attacks.
After a meeting with Jonathan yesterday (Thursday) in which we discussed a potential project for the immersion, he helped me make an arrangement to spend a few days in the Nuclear Cardiology department.
I started today at the Nuclear Cardiology department, and learned about SPECT imaging and the different kinds of stress tests that were done. In exchange for the opportunity for me to stay for a few days, they jokingly asked me to make them a new camera; the photomultiplier tube system in the SPECT scanner.
There's apparently a number of way for misdetection of abnormal perfusion to happen; most notably due to large breasts, implants or anything else that can shield the signal from the thallium; thus it requires great practice in order to quickly and accurately read these images. I thought that was cool.
I'm very thankful to Sandy and Sunil, who took me around for the entire day today. I'm looking forward to visiting the nuclear cardiology lab again next week.