Development of an MR-Safe Perfusion Framework for an Ex Vivo Porcine Heart Beating Model

MSc assignment

Cardiac angiosarcoma is a rare form of angiosarcoma involving the walls of the heart. It mainly affects patients under 65 years of age. It is a very aggressive tumour that usually develops from the right atrium [1] and then rapidly involves the pericardium [2] and develops metastases, particularly in the lungs, bones, liver and brain. [3] It can often remain asymptomatic until it reaches a significant size or involves neighbouring structures [2], so early diagnosis is very difficult. Symptoms are generally non-specific [2] and this contributes to the difficulty in the diagnosis. [4] Therefore, the feedback offered by new technologies for MRI-guided cardiac interventions could be helpful. Operating within the MRI offers the surgeon a better environment for training and also for testing new techniques, seeing what is happening in real-time. Hence, early diagnosis and appropriate therapy are essential to reduce the burden of heart disease.

My project is part of a research programme at the UMC in Amsterdam, in collaboration with dr. Marco Gotte, which aims to contribute to the transformation of cardiac interventions from an X-ray-based process to a fully integrated radiation-free workflow, seamlessly integrating CMR imaging with minimally invasive catheter-based cardiac diagnostic and interventional procedures. The aim of the thesis, in agreement with G.Dagnino and D.Kundrat, is the development of a safe MRI perfusion structure for an ex vivo porcine beating heart model. It will be necessary to develop connectors and tubing to connect the set-up with the explanted pig heart. For this, we will have to be careful to maintain physiological pressures and try to mimic normal circulation and perfusion. My master's thesis will take place both at the University of Twente and at the UMC Hospital in Amsterdam.

[1] Primary cardiac angiosarcoma – a review. Swetal Dilip Patel, Ashley Peterson,Artur Bartczak, Sarah Lee, Sławomir Chojnowski, Piotr Gajewski, and Marios Loukas.
[2] What Is Angiosarcoma? Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment Of This Rare Form Of Cancer. By Cristiano Antonino.
[3] Primary Cardiac Sarcoma: A Rare, Aggressive Malignancy with a High Propensity for Brain Metastases. Brittany L. Siontis,Lili Zhao,Monika Leja, Jonathan B. McHugh, Maryann M. Shango, Laurence H. Baker,Scott M. Schuetze, and Rashmi Chugh.
[4] MR-guided stereotactic body radiation therapy for primary cardiac sarcomas. Stefanie Corradini,Rieke von Bestenbostel. Angela Romano, Adrian Curta, Dorit Di Gioia, Lorenzo Placidi,Maximilian Niyazi, and Luca Boldrini.