Treatment + Care

Why radiology could be key to determining treatment for cardiovascular diseases

From 25-29 August 2018, leading experts from across the globe will convene in Munich for the world’s largest cardiovascular congress, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2018.

Cardiovascular disease is the term used for conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels and it is the number one cause of death worldwide. The population across the world is getting older and one of the results of this is the higher prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, among others. Despite the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease, there is still a high unmet medical need for many patients worldwide and the healthcare systems are struggling under mounting costs.

Quick facts: cardiovascular disease

The ESC Congress explores how the treatment of cardiovascular diseases can be improved. We will also share our insights into how clinical development of innovative medicines and technologies at Bayer can help tackle the growing burden of cardiovascular diseases, including those patients with a high unmet medical need.

“There is still much that needs to be done to improve the lives of those living with cardiovascular diseases. At Bayer, we strive to explore how our therapies can benefit those patients who may currently have limited treatment options. We look forward to sharing the latest data from our clinical development program at ESC Congress 2018, and just as importantly, engaging in mutual learning with others in the field of cardiology.”

Dr Martin van Eickels, Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs, Bayer

Successful treatment starts with accurate diagnosis

Accurate and timely diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases is paramount to the way patients are subsequently treated. We are all aware of drugs that a patient can take in order to treat cardiovascular conditions, but how does a doctor choose the right treatment for the right patient?

Radiologists play an important role here, as their work maps out the next steps of the patient’s disease management journey:

  • Diagnosis: Use of medical imaging such as ultrasound, MRI or CT helps cardiologists and radiologists to accurately diagnose diseases of the heart, such as coronary artery disease (CAD)


  • Treatment: Timely and correct diagnosis informs doctor’s decisions so that they can select the right treatment for the right patient, thereby improving the quality of care


  • Management: Radiologists can assist in monitoring how a disease is progressing, the patient’s response to treatment, as well as detection of other illnesses


Indeed, Dr Stephan Achenbach, Head of Cardiology at the University of Erlangen in Germany and the newly elected ESC President, cites collaboration between cardiology and radiology as one of his core philosophies for patient benefit6.

More than 110 million radiological examinations are performed annually worldwide with cardiac imaging representing a third of these7

"ESC Congress 2018 provides a great platform for the latest developments in the cardiac space at every step from diagnosis to care. Cardiac MR is important for the timely and correct diagnosis of a number of cardiovascular diseases such as Coronary Artery Disease to name just one. We are continuing to work with scientific partners to identify new insights and gather evidence that will strengthen diagnostic confidence and thereby leading to better outcomes for patients."

Dr. Thomas Balzer, Head Medical & Clinical Affairs Radiology at Bayer

Two types of cardiac imaging techniques:

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR)

What is it?
This is also known as a cardiac MRI. The technique produces high quality images of the different parts of the heart to assess the function and structure of the cardiovascular system. It is a procedure which does not use radiation and is based on the same principles as MRI, but optimized for use in the cardiovascular system.

What does it show?
Some CMR involves the injection of a contrast medium to highlight the blood vessels which provides information on the blood supply to the surrounding tissue or whether there is any inflammation or scarring.

Computed Tomography Coronary Angiography (CTCA)

What is it?
Angiography is X-ray imaging of blood vessels using a contrast medium, which is injected into the patient’s bloodstream. A CTCA scan takes images of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.

What does it show?
The images determine if plaque buildup has narrowed the coronary arteries to the heart. Plaque is made up of various substances such as fat, cholesterol and calcium that can deposit inside arteries. Plaque, which builds up over time, can reduce, or in some cases completely block, blood flow.

A look into the future of cardiac imaging sees a continual focus on finding the best way to care for patients. The Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR) has compiled a registry and database of over 65,000 CMR studies to promote the use of CMR in diagnosing and monitoring patients with cardiovascular disease. The name of the registry is SPINS and stands for “The Clinical Impact of Stress CMR Perfusion Imaging in the United States”.  “Stress CMR Perfusion Imaging” is another term for CMR imaging.

Bayer is one of the collaborators on this initiative8 and the goal is to allow CMR professionals to share insights into how CMR impacts patient care and ultimately improve the way patients are treated. Dr. Raymond Kwong will share some important insights gained from the SPINS registry at the ESC Congress this year:

"In 2015, almost 9 million people worldwide died of Coronary Artery Disease, the most common type of heart disease. Gadolinium-enhanced stress cardiac MR perfusion imaging provides excellent diagnostic accuracy for coronary artery disease and negative clinical event rates. I am excited to present latest results from the SPINS - SCMR Registry at ESC Congress 2018 providing real-world evidence on stress cardiac MR across multiple centers in the US."

Dr. Raymond Y. Kwong, Director Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston, United States of America

How can I follow Bayer at the ESC?

You can follow Bayer at the ESC this year right here on our social media channels: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter:




1 World Health Organization, Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) Last accessed August 2018
2 Ibid.
3 Global Health Estimates 2016: Deaths by Cause, Age, Sex, by Country and by Region, 2000-2016. Geneva, World Health Organization; 2018
4 WebMD, What Is an MRI? Last accessed August 2018
5 WebMD, What is a CT Scan? Last accessed August 2018
6 Aunt Minnie, Imaging pioneer Achenbach secures Europe's top cardiac post Last accessed August 2018
7 MedlinePlus, Imaging and radiology Last accessed August 2018
8, Clinical Impact of Stress CMR Perfusion Imaging (SPINS), Last accessed August 2018