Noninvasive diagnosis and monitoring of valve disease severity

Heart valve disease is diagnosed and monitored using echocardiography and CT imaging. Valve disease progresses very rapidly for some patients, while for others the process can take decades. Cardiologists interpret data across multiple criteria according to their own experience and preferences, limiting standardization and the ability to study disease progression. We have been working with clinical collaborators to create standardized non-invasive indices of aortic valve disease progression, in particular with ultrasound echocardiography. We have retrospectively identified cohorts of patients that exhibit slow or rapid progression of aortic valve disease independently of valve severity, which we are linking to other echocardiographically accessible cardiac parameters. More recently, we have begun prospective analyses that combine imaging with blood testing to develop patient specific profiles of valve function and biological signaling. We are further developing new algorithms to track local valve leaflet deformation kinematics to aid in disease diagnosis and severity monitoring. We have applied these tools to analyze both aortic and mitral valve function, both in humans and in animals that suffer from valve diseases. These tools will aid clinicians in treating patients during the critical window between disease onset and prosthetic replacement.