I hope you enjoy reading the “A Suggested Roadmap for Cardiovascular Ultrasound Research for the Future” in this issue of JASE. The article is a compilation of the discussion at ASE’s Cardiovascular Ultrasound Technology Summit held this past fall in conjunction with the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions in Chicago. The summit was part of an ongoing commitment by the leadership of the ASE to help define future applications of cardiac ultrasound and identify the areas of research that must occur in the next decade to meet those future clinical needs.
By bringing ASE leadership, physician-scientists active in the field of cardiovascular ultrasound, respected ultrasound physicists, and senior engineers from the various ultrasound companies together, we were able to create a framework that better defines areas for which we might apply for grant funding and on which we might collaborate with related organizations and industry to help move our field forward. I also believe the discussion served to re-energize all the participants about the true breadth and diverse applications possible for cardiovascular ultrasound.
The full-day meeting covered a selected range of issues relating to the assessment of global and regional left ventricular function, regional myocardial perfusion, molecular imaging, therapeutic ultrasound, and peripheral vascular imaging. Also addressed was research necessary to determine the broad clinical utility of hand-held ultrasound devices and the impact of future technological developments on the field of cardiovascular imaging. The discussion was robust, and at the end, the chairs and panelists for each topic were requested to submit, in writing, short summaries of the discussion.
We believe that the resulting article will serve as a roadmap for cardiovascular ultrasound research for this decade. We plan to discuss this roadmap with the leadership of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and will also send this report to the AHA leadership. Obvious from the contents of this report is the fact that most of the research discussed is translational in nature and involves a wide range of disciplines, and we hope that the NIH and AHA will seriously consider supporting it.
Although we have defined the areas that are ripe for future research, we also strongly believe that we must train the future scientists who will implement this research agenda. We need training grants from the NIH to train an adequate number of scientists in cardiovascular imaging. To our knowledge there are currently only a handful of such training grants in the country; this is woefully inadequate. We believe that we need at least 20–25 such training grants, so that within a decade there will be enough physicians trained in scientific methods and clinical research to tackle the subjects discussed in this report.
The field of cardiovascular ultrasound is very broad, ranging from clinical validation of new technology to studies requiring knowledge of physics, mathematics, organic chemistry, physiology, pharmacology, molecular and vascular biology, genetics, clinical trials, and outcome research. Cross-training of individuals in one or more of these fields is essential for cardiovascular ultrasound to succeed and thrive. Our hope is that this report will encourage young people to recognize the potential scope of cardiac ultrasound research and make a career in this dynamic field.