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Evolution towards multimodalities cardiovascular Imaging - The French experience

Interview with Prof. Jean-Luc Monin, President of the Working Group of Echocardiography of the French Society of Cardiology

Non-invasive Imaging: Echocardiography

Dear Prof. Monin, since when are you in an evolution phase towards a multi modality imaging approach?

In fact, the active process has been launched at the beginning of 2012.

Is it a national level or different from one hospital/clinic to the other?

At a national level, our French working group on Echocardiography (registered branch of the French Society of Cardiology, FSC) has officially contacted the working group on Cardiac Scintigraphy and MRI (Registered branch of both the FSC and the French Society of Nuclear Medicine (FSNM). Several meetings between our two groups have occurred since march 2012.

What are the main steps accomplished so far?

After a couple of informal meetings and after official contacts with the FCS and the French Society of Nuclear Medicine, the principle of merging our two Working groups into one French Working Group of Cardiovascular imaging seems now accepted by both Societies.

What were the major challenges in getting there?

You won't be surprised to hear that some of our colleagues Radiologists, who are actually performing cardiovascular MRI or CT, were not very enthusiastic regarding any Working Group on cardiovascular Imaging involving mainly Cardiologists and Nuclear Medicine specialists.
Our goal is certainly NOT to raise frontiers between colleagues, regarding who will perform which technique and so on... Of course, we would be delighted to welcome each and every colleague invested in cardiovascular imaging to participate in our working group, whatever his (her) specialty: Cardiology, Nuclear  Medicine or Radiology.

What most significant improvements for patient care do you expect?

I'm convinced that for optimal patient management, we have to work as a "Heart (and vessels) Team"and therefore it is crucial to share experiences between clinical cardiologists and every specialists involved in modern cardiovascular imaging modalities.

What advice would you give to other hospitals/clinics who are planning to make a similar imaging evolution?

In France, we have not fully achieved our goal so far. In addition, in light of the very different experiences from colleagues all around Europe that we have shared during our recent EACVI Summit in Brussels last June, I'm not sure that any recommendation could be relevant for all.

Any other important information to note?

Not exactly an info but my feeling is that it may take a few years for launching national cardiovascular Imaging Groups all around Europe, we have to be patient and motivated.

Are there any support networks/systems in place for countries wishing to move towards an integrated modality approach in your country?

Not to my knowledge...

Thank you Prof. Monin for sharing your experience!