Slovakia, located in the heart of Europe, is a post-communist country. This has greatly influenced radiology over the last few decades, mostly due to a lack of modern equipment. Nevertheless, the first cardiac MRI in Slovakia was performed in 2003, at the Hospital of Internal Affairs, Bratislava.

Cardiac MRI in Slovakia has been developing since 2003, and it has evolved even faster in the last decade. Nowadays, there are eight centres providing cardiac MRI in Slovakia, evaluating more than 2,000 patients per year. Each of the centres provides a high level of general cardiac MRI imaging, performed by trained radiological technicians and certified radiologists. Moreover, each of the centres has its own main area of interest, such as stress perfusion, congenital heart disease, Dobutamin stress testing, arrhythmias, heart transplants, heart failure, etc. We also participate in a number of clinical studies. A clinical investigation regarding the influence of anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory drugs on myocardium is our focus for the coming years.

Viera Lehotska, MD, PhD is associate professor and head of the 2nd Radiology Department of the Faculty of Medicine Comenius University and St. Elizabeth’s Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia, and President of the Slovak Association of Radiology.

The biggest limitation on cardiac MRI in Slovakia is insufficient reimbursement, which notably influences a number of the facilities properly equipped to perform cardiac MRI. However, negotiations between health insurance companies and our radiology and cardiology societies are in progress. The second limitation is a shortage of certified radiologists – a problem we share with all European countries. To fill the gap, our Ministry of Health has started a sponsored residency programme in radiology. The Slovak Radiology Society has initiated a certified programme for radiologists to specialise in cardiac imaging to enhance education in this area.

When it comes to cardiac imaging, this typical question often arises: is it supposed to be performed and read by a radiologist or a cardiologist? In which field of medicine are we situated? Certified radiologists perform all of the cardiac MRIs in Slovakia; however, we undoubtedly do need our colleagues from cardiology. We need them to explain, to communicate, to debate, even to fight for their opinion if it is essential. We in Slovakia believe that this is what is moving us forward to understand, to improve, to progress and finally to make a proper diagnosis. To maintain this cooperation, we have established a Working Group on Cardiac Imaging within the Slovak Cardiology Society; we have been invited speakers at the Slovak Cardiology Society meetings for years and, furthermore, we organise multidisciplinary meetings.

We, cardiac MRI specialists in Slovakia, cooperate at a very high level, consult each other on our cases, and share our knowledge on an everyday basis. And, last but not least, we are very good friends. This is what has helped us to improve noticeably in the last few years.

And what are our goals? To learn, to advance our techniques, to communicate with our colleagues and clinicians and especially to help our patients.

Zuzana Berecova, MD, PhD, who will present the scientific lecture focused on cardiac MRI in the session ‘Interventional neuroradiology, cardiac MRI and EVAR: our experience’ within the ‘ESR meets Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia’ session on Friday, is among the founders of cardiac MRI in Slovakia.

She practices general radiology, but she is also EBCR certified and has a CMR (EACVI) certificate-level 3. She has markedly contributed to a high level of interdisciplinary cooperation in cardiac imaging in Slovakia. Nowadays she is Chief of the Radiology Department at University Hospital, St. Michael Hospital in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Please note that this session will not take place as planned but will feature messages from the respective societies’ presidents.

ESR meets Session, Friday, July 17, 09:45–10:15
ESR meets Israel, Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia

  • Welcome from the ECR 2020 Congress President
    Boris Brkljačić; Zagreb/HR
  • Messages from:
    Jacob Sosna; Jerusalem/IL; President of the Israel Radiological Association
    Damir Miletić; Rijeka/HR; President of the Croatian Society of Radiology
    Viera Lehotská; Bratislava/SK; President of the Slovak Association of Radiology
    Maja Marolt Music; Ljubljana/SI; President of the Slovenian Association of Radiology