Lay summary
The goal of this research project is to develop a human-centred approach to improving Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging (cMRI) in terms of: faster scan times for improved patient comfort and throughput; better image quality for more accurate diagnosis; greater understanding of patient state for enhanced patient-operator interactions. Respiration is a major problem in cMRI, leading to increased examination times and poor diagnostic image quality. Whilst early attempts have been made with biofeedback, these were very basic in their approach due to technical limitations. Such techniques were therefore not human-centred and introduced additional unforeseen problems, such as unnatural movements brought on by the biofeedback and the additional high level of patient compliance required. The development of intelligent algorithms and improved technical hardware and imaging sequences enables truly user-centred approaches to now be developed.The project will focus on two medical applications which are significantly affected by the respiratory pattern of a patient: applications which require stable respiratory position at end-expiration and end-inspiration; applications which require stable breath-holding position. A series of respiratory biofeedback modules will be developed, using a variety of audio-visual multi-media techniques, to guide and influence the breathing of a patient in a beneficial way for the imaging procedures.Early biofeedback approaches have used very primitive visual interfaces.Collaboration with IDK will enable more complex and user-friendly interfaces to be developed, with the secondary aim of enhancing the patient experience in the scanner as well as improving the interaction between the scan operator and the patient. Any enhancements in patient comfort will as well contribute to a reduced level of patient anxiety, one of the biggest causes of early scan terminations and failed studies.The requirements and experiences of the operator and the patient are important factors which have been previously lacking in other approaches.Early experiments have been carried out and the results demonstrate that a human-centred approach to tackling the problem of respiration can have significant impacts on the issues relating to examination times and image quality whilst also offering the potential for improving the human-experience and, therefore, reducing problems related to this.