SCMR considers expanding its mission to include CT

March 1, 2006

Who will speak for cardiac CT? Apparently, no one, when the setting is the annual business meeting of the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance.

Who will speak for cardiac CT? Apparently, no one, when the setting is the annual business meeting of the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance.

SCMR leaders have debated for years whether the society's mission should include CT. Sparked by explosive growth of cardiac CT and the formation of the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography, the issue was the subject of passionate debate at the society's annual board meeting in January, according to president Dr. Warren Manning.

The SCCT has attracted 2000 members within its first few months, compared with the 1400 members who have signed on with the SCMR in its 10-year history.

A few days later during the regular meeting, Manning invited all members to debate the proposal. Only three chose to do so-all opposed to the idea of adding CT to the society's mission. An audience of 700 attended the session.

Dr. Nathaniel Reichek, director of research at St. Francis Hospital Heart Center in Roslyn, NY, expressed fear that interest in cardiac MR would diminish if the society attempted to serve both communities.

Dr. Leon Axel, director of cardiac imaging at NYU School of Medicine, emphasized that the strength of the society lies in its clear focus on MR and the diversity within that focus among basic scientists, physicians, engineers, radiologists, and cardiologists who have developed and applied the technology.

Dr. Dudley Pennell, director of cardiac MR at Royal Brompton Hospital in London, expressed concern that the progression of cardiac MR research could lose momentum if it loses the SCMR as an incubator for technical innovation and its annual meeting as a showcase for its best work.

"This group is quite definitely recognized as the premier world society for cardiovascular MR. I don't see that continuing with a dual focus," he said.

The SCMR board plans to address the question of the society's mission in a mail-in referendum addressed to all members. Results will be announced later this year.