Myocardial infarction and subsequent heart failure is a major health burden associated with significant mortality and morbidity in western societies. The ability of cardiac tissue to recover after myocardial infarction is affected by numerous complex cellular and molecular pathways. Unbalance or failure of these pathways can lead to adverse remodelling of the heart and poor prognosis. Current clinical cardiac imaging modalities assess anatomy, perfusion, function, and viability of the myocardium, yet do not offer any insight into the specific molecular pathways involved in the repair process. Novel imaging techniques allow visualisation of these molecular processes and may have significant diagnostic and prognostic values, which could aid clinical management. Single photon-emission tomography, positron-emission tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging are used to visualise various aspects of these molecular processes. Imaging probes are usually attached to radioisotopes or paramagnetic nanoparticles to specifically target biological processes such as: apoptosis, necrosis, inflammation, angiogenesis, and scar formation. Although the results from preclinical studies are promising, translating this work to a clinical environment in a valuable and cost-effective way is extremely challenging. Extensive evaluation evidence of diagnostic and prognostic values in multi-centre clinical trials is still required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Number of pages18
JournalBasic Research in Cardiology
Issue number2
Early online date17 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jan 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Review


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