Interestingly, carbon dioxide is a strong modifier of blood flow to the brain and the heart. Hyperventilation will reduce blood flow while a breath-hold (or as in suffocation) will increase the blood flow, maybe one of the primordial reflexes of the body to keep both organs alive and functional as long as possible. Divers for example will massively increase their coronary blood flow. Even normal people however respond to these manoeuvres.
Our experimental, pre-clinical and clinical research has shown that this response may be the ultimate tool to assess vascular function. In combination with oxygenation-sensitive CMR we could show that it may allow clinicians to perform a needle-free comprehensive stress test of the heart in less than two minutes.
Matthias Friedrich earned his MD at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen/Nuernberg, Germany. He completed his training as an internist and cardiologist at the Charité University Medicine Center, Humboldt University in Berlin.
From 2004 to 2011, he was Professor of Medicine with the Departments of Cardiac Sciences and Radiology at the University of Calgary and developed the Stephenson Cardiovascular MR Centre, one of North Americas largest centres for Cardiovascular MR.
From 2011 to 2015, he held the Chair in Cardiac Imaging as Full Professor of the Université de Montréal and, since 2015, is Full Professor of Medicine and Chief, Cardiovascular Imaging at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal.
Since 2016, he also holds the position as Full Professor of Medicine at Heidelberg University in Heidelberg, Germany, where he is head of cardiovascular imaging research.
His scientific interest is in new approaches for diagnosing cardiovascular disease using Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging. He authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications with about 10,000 citations, and his current h index is 45. He is member of international writing groups, editorial boards and grant review committees in Europe and North America. He is Co-PI of Canada’s national Cardiovascular Cohort Study.
He is also actively involved in the development of leading medical image post-processing software (cmr42, CMR Atlas for the iPad).
Matthias Friedrich was the Founding President of the Canadian Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and is the current President-Elect of the international Society for Cardiovascular MR.