Heart failure is a leading cause of death and hospitalization in Sweden today, with a prevalence of between 200 000 to 300 000 subjects. Heart failure is characterized by increased intracardiac pressures and declining output of blood, representing the end-result of many different etiologies that adversely affect cardiac structure and function. Increasing availability of etiology-specific therapies makes early identification of underlying etiology warranted, to prevent progress to end-stage heart failure. Cardiac function is rapidly and easily evaluated with echocardiography, but many etiologies cannot be readily discerned based on this modality, necessitating the use of a range of costly and time-consuming modalities with risk for adverse effects such as endomyocardial biopsy, nuclear medicine imaging, and magnetic resonance imaging.
The objective of this project is to evaluate the use of photoacoustic imaging as a complement to echocardiography to non-invasively identify distinct etiologies contributing to heart failure, allowing early and cause-specific therapy.