Attempting to find coronary artery disease before the heart attack

An extensive consortium led by University of Oulu is developing a new imaging method to diagnose coronary artery disease before the heart attack. The new imaging method harnesses the latest X-ray imaging technologies and robust mathematical image reconstruction algorithms.


Coronary artery disease is one of the most significant diseases burdening our society. Half of heart attacks occur for previously symptomless subjects and almost half of the first heart attacks are fatal. Cost-effective method for evaluating coronary arteries is yet to be realized. The purpose of our project is to develop a new imaging method specifically designed for cardiac imaging. The method would enable affordable and preventive screening of coronary arteries at primary healthcare. This approach enables the initiation of treatment at a sufficiently early stage.


  • Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the most common causes of death globally.
  • Ca. 50% of CVD deaths are caused by coronary artery disease (CAD). It has been estimated that ca. 12000 people died from coronary artery disease in Finland in 2012.
  • Cost-efficient method to diagnose coronary artery disease is not currently available.


  • Currently, no diagnostic methods to diagnose coronary artery disease at its early stages are available.
  • Cardiovascular examinations and its treatment path are both long and stressful.
  • There’s no place for questions and answers in the treatment path.

-> There certainly is a need for a cost-efficient and minimally invasive method to diagnose coronary artery disease.

Risk-based choice

The procedure is the same for every patient despite the level of risk.


Invasive, expensive, and high in radiation dose.

Computed Tomography Angiography

Invasive, expensive, and high in radiation dose.


Is able to show cardiac hypofunction but not coronary artery disease.


The aim of the project is to develop a new method, including hardware and software, to image coronary arteries. During the project, examination and treatment paths will also be studied and developed to meet the demands of the new imaging method.


  • Clinical accuracy
  • Cost-efficiency
  • Non-invasive
  • Low radiation dose
The basic concept of the project

The role of coronary artery disease screening in the future?

Screening of coronary artery disease could meet the following criteria after a cost-efficient method has been developed and its clinical efficiency has been proven:

  1. The disease must be significant for public health.
  2. The disease must be curable after detection.
  3. The screening method should be able to detect the disease in asymptomatic patients reliably.
  4. Screening costs should be reasonable.


The Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the University of Helsinki, the Department of Radiography and Radiotherapy of Oulu University of Applied Sciences, the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District and various healthcare companies are involved in the project. The multidisciplinary research consortium and comprehensive technology expertise ensure the best possible ecosystem for the development of a completely new type of imaging method.

Team Members

Miika Nieminen

  • Professor, chief physicist, PhD
More info

Tiina Ihme

  • IT engineer
  • Project manager
More info

Satu Inkinen

  • Post-doctoral researcher, PhD
  • Multi-energy imaging
  • Image reconstruction

Juuso Ketola

  • Doctoral student, MSc
  • Limited data reconstruction
  • Deep learning
More info

Mikael Juntunen

  • Doctoral student, MSc
  • Multi-energy imaging
  • Multi-energy image reconstruction
More info

Kristiina Korhonen

  • Physics graduate student
  • Multi-energy imaging
More info

Olli Ahtola

  • Physics graduate student
  • Algorithm development

Antti Kotiaho

  • Specializing physicist, MSc
  • Oulu University Hospital
  • Consultant
More info
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