Charles A. Mistretta
The pioneering accomplishments and vision of Charles A. Mistretta in developing digital subtraction angiography (DSA), time-resolved magnet resonance angiography (MRA), and accelerated imaging algorithms have transformed diagnostic radiology. During the 1970s, screen film X-rays were the standard for radiography and angiography. However, film angiograms were limited due to interference from overlying anatomy. Mistretta recognized the importance that electronic subtraction in imaging could play in providing vascular images that were free of obscuring anatomy. Incorporating a hand-made, custom-designed digital image processor, Mistretta introduced his DSA technique. He went on to refine and optimize DSA to provide virtually real-time visualization of vascular structures without obstructions, revolutionizing angiography with a safer and more effective technology that is now found in practically every medical center. DSA is also considered an enabling technology that made minimally invasive vascular therapeutic procedures such as angioplasty and stenting possible. During the 1990s, Mistretta applied DSA technology to overcome the limitations of slow magnetic resonance data acquisition in contrast-enhanced MRA techniques. He developed the time-resolved imaging of contrast kinetics (TRICKS) method for three-dimensional visualization of previously difficult-to-image vascular beds. TRICKS provides clinicians with dynamic vascular information and eliminates the timing uncertainty associated with single-image contrast-enhanced MRA. This radiation-free MRA method uses less toxic contrast material and is performed intravenously rather than intra-arterially for enhanced safety and effectiveness. Mistretta’s recent efforts include work on image acceleration. His highly constrained reconstructions from projections (HYPR) method provides rapid accelerations of dynamic or parametric imaging by using imaging data acquired over a short time interval to weight an image acquired over a much longer time interval.
A member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Mistretta is a professor with the Department of Medical Physics, Radiology, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.