This research project is testing a new method of detecting pulmonary hypertension (high lung pressures) using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (sometimes called CMR) and dobutamine stress echocardiography (sometimes called DSE). Pulmonary hypertension is difficult to detect in the early stages of the disease. Pulmonary hypertension can affect and cause damage to the heart, particularly the heart chamber called the right ventricle. New imaging techniques (known as blood oxygen dependent imaging or BOLD imaging) using cardiac MRI have demonstrated that early abnormalities in the heart (mainly the left ventricle) can be detected. The aim of this research is to determine if BOLD imaging can show abnormalities in the right ventricle too.
Recent research has shown that putting the heart under stress (making it beat faster using a drug called Dobutamine) may also help in the detection of early pulmonary hypertension. Before these techniques can be used in screening for early pulmonary hypertension, we must first see if they can detect changes in people with established pulmonary hypertension.