Current Projects

The Cardiac Imaging Research Team (CIRT) is dedicated to fighting heart disease by developing powerful new diagnostic methods that can recognize at-risk individuals and evaluate atherosclerosis years or even decades before catastrophic events can occur. The following are current studies taking place:

Cardiac Imaging Research Registry

Principal Investigator: Daniel S. Berman, MD
IRB Approval Number: 1752
Contact: Frances Wang, 310-423-2136
Status: Active - Enrolling

The Cardiac Imaging Research Registry is an organized system of information derived from historical, demographical, clinical, imaging, and outcomes data from patients undergoing cardiac imaging procedures including nuclear cardiology SPECT and PET, cardiac CT, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging at Cedars-Sinai for use in ongoing and future research that will help advance the field of cardiac imaging focused around the following general aims to investigate:

  • Technical questions such as issues related to the acquisition parameters, image processing, and quantitative analysis
  • Diagnostic capabilities to detect disease and assess risk compared to other assessments
  • Prognostic value to predict adverse outcomes of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all cause mortality
  • The usefulness of the testing to guide clinical decision making and monitor therapy with the goal of preventing adverse outcomes

As of 2014, the registry contains approximately 60,000 cardiac SPECT, 20,000 coronary artery calcium (CAC) scans, 4,000 cardiac PET studies, 4,000 coronary CT angiography studies, and 1,500 cardiac MRI studies.


High-Performance Automated System for Analysis of Cardiac SPECT

Principal Investigator: Piotr Slomka, PhD
IRB Approval Number: 19604
Contact: Piotr Slomka, 310-423-4348
Status: Active – Data Analysis only

In the study funded by the National Institute of Health, investigators are developing and validating an automated, highly-accurate and objective computer system which will outperform even experienced physicians in interpreting these images and consequently allow a greater number of lives saved by better selection of patients needing treatment and also resulting in time- and cost-savings.


18F-sodium fluoride PET for Identification of Ruptured and High-Risk Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaques

Principal Investigator: Daniel Berman, MD
IRB Approval Number: 39453
Contact: Mahsaw Motlagh, 310-423-6268; Frances Wang, 310-423-2136
Status: Active – Enrolling

In this study, investigators will evaluate whether 18F-NaF (sodium fluoride) Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans can be used to identify ruptured and high-risk plaque as compared to non-invasive coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA) scans and in some patients, high-definition intravascular ultrasound (IVUS).


Gadobutrol / Gadavist-enhanced Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CMRI) to Detect Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) (GadaCAD 2)

Principal Investigator: Daniel Berman, MD
IRB Approval Number: 32913
Contact: Romalisa Miranda-Peats, 310-423-6753
Status: Active – Enrolling

This is a multi-center industry-sponsored clinical trial in which Cedars is a study location. The primary objective of this study is to demonstrate that sensitivity and specificity of gadobutrol-enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMRI) exceed pre-specified minimum performance thresholds of 60 to 55 percent,  respectively, and to show superior sensitivity over unenhanced wall motion CMRI at vasodilator rest/stress for the detection of significant CAD. The CMR images acquired with a uniform imaging acquisition software will be evaluated either against the results from routine clinical Coronary Angiography (CA) or Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA), which are the standard of reference.


ISCHEMIA: International Study of Comparative Health Effectiveness with Medical and Invasive Approaches - Nuclear Core Lab

Principal Investigator: Daniel S. Berman, MD
IRB Approval Number: 25448
Contact: Rhona Littman, 310-423-4387
Status: Active - Data analysis only

This is a multi-site clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health. Investigators evaluate the hypothesis that among patients with moderate to severe ischemia, a routine early invasive strategy with cardiac catheterization followed by optimal revascularization plus optimal medical therapy is superior to a conservative strategy of optimal medical therapy for reducing future cardiac-related adverse events. Cedars-Sinai is serving as the Nuclear Core Lab for SPECT and PET imaging tasked to receive and interpret over 3,500 de-identified myocardial perfusion SPECT or PET images acquired across an estimated 360 sites worldwide.


Optimization of Rubidium-82 (RB-82) Protocol for Coronary Flow Reserve Analysis

Principal Investigators: Daniel Berman, MD, Piotr Slomka, PhD
IRB Approval Number: 34831
Contact: Frances Wang, 310-423-2136
Status: Active – Enrolling

The overall objective of this project is to develop and optimize technical aspects Rubdium-82 Cardiac PET/CT for myocardial perfusion imaging by conducting retrospective analysis on existing clinical data. Currently, investigators are developing an automatic CT-PET registration which may improve the specificity in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.


Artifact-Free High-Resolution Myocardial Perfusion MRI in Subjects With Abnormal Nuclear Myocardial Perfusion Studies

Principal Investigator: Daniel Berman, MD
IRB Approval Number: 28466
Contact: Sabrina Sides, RN, 310-423-0732
Status: Active – Enrolling

In this pilot study, investigators will evaluate the accuracy of a novel MRI technique for localization of myocardial perfusion deficits in patients with suspected coronary artery disease by comparing the MR scans to the nuclear myocardial perfusion scans (PET or SPECT).


Identification of Adverse Plaque Characteristics by Coronary MRA

Principal Investigator: Daniel Berman, MD
IRB Approval Number: 27850
Contact: Sabrina Sides, RN, 310-423-0732
Status: Active – Enrolling

In this pilot study, investigators will determine whether coronary magnetic resonance angiography (CMRA) can identify adverse plaque characteristics (buildup of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood) seen on coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) and evaluate whether there is a relationship between the adverse plaque characteristics and the presence of coronary artery wall inflammation.


EISNER: Early Identification of Subclinical Atherosclerosis using NoninvasivE Imaging Program

Principal Investigator: Daniel S. Berman, MD
IRB Approval Number: 3974
Contact: Romalisa Miranda-Peats, 310-423-6753
Status: Active - Data analysis only

Cardiac CT scanning has been shown to be useful in detecting subclinical coronary atherosclerosis, however the relative usefulness of cardiac CT findings, clinical, and biochemical assessments in predicting outcomes in coronary artery disease has not been fully explored. The Early Identification of Subclinical Atherosclerosis using NoninvasivE Imaging Research (EISNER) Study integrates the imaging (cardiac CT and nuclear cardiology), preventive cardiology, and basic cardiology aspects to improve the outcomes for coronary artery disease.

Patients with Nuclear Cardiology Studies
The primary purpose of this study is to determine if the information from a coronary calcium CT scan adds value to the information from a nuclear cardiology study in helping physicians make medical decisions.

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