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Innovative Research in Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy

Prof. Adelino Leite Moreira
Group Leader


The group focus on new techniques and methodologies of diagnosis based on modern multimodal cardiac imaging, on new surgical and interventional approaches to cardiovascular therapy and on the expanded possibilities of combining the two. Members are highly-trained physicians with a background in basic, translational and/or clinical research. Their research activities are held at Faculty of Medicine of University of Porto, Centro Hospitalar de São João and Centro Hospitalar de Vila Nova de Gaia e Espinho. 

The leader of the group is the head of UnIC and also cardiac surgeon prof. Adelino Leite-Moreira. He coordinates a large group of members concerned with: (i) Surgical techniques; (ii) Cardiac imaging; (iii) Patient follow-up; (iv)intraoperative cardiac imaging; (v) Large animal model interventions; (vi) Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in cardiovascular disease; (vii) Ventricular assist and other cardiovascular therapy devices. The vast tasks to carry out are accomplished with the help of other skilled researchers. This group acts not only as counsellor in its fields of expertize but also as an extension to research activities in basic and translational cardiovascular research whenever large animal models or advanced technical interventions or imaging methods are needed. 

One of the goals of this group is to contribute to layout guidelines and algorithms for 3D-echocardiography application in order to bridge the gap between 2D and 3D-echocardiography focusing on diastolic function and right ventricular evaluation. This goal includes two approaches: (i) bench-to-bedside applying, technology to small and large animal models of disease and (ii) translation to clinics, by performing echocardiography and pressure-volume loop haemodynamic evaluation in cardiac surgical patients. Furthermore, patient samples that are later studied on molecular and functional terms are collected by this group during cardiac surgical procedures. 

The collaboration with engineer research team members enables the development of software imaging analysis tools for physician guidance and the development of novel cardiovascular therapy devices. Several strategic points contribute to the success of the group: (i) multidisciplinary composition; (ii) large experience of the research team; (iii) firm collaboration between our cardiac surgical teams and our basic and translational research groups which has made possible to create an ever increasing biobank of patient plasma, myocardial, skeletal muscle, valve, vascular, and adipose tissues along with large databases of clinical and imaging data; (iv) previous approval of the on-going studies by the ethics committees; (v) commitment of the heads of department as members of the team; (vi) high number of other skilled research team members with a strong commitment; (vii) collaboration between physicians and engineers; (viii) the technical support of dedicated technicians and secretariat; (ix) important international networks; and, finally, (x) facilities, equipment, and expertize to work with large animal models. Large animal models are highly relevant for clinical translation of findings because animals such as the pig are a better human correlate.