Preface to the Second Edition Despite worldwide efforts to assess and control cardiovascular risk factors, cardiac diseases and in particular coronary artery disease (CAD) are still the foremost causes of death in the developed countries of Western Europe, North America and Asia and are becoming increasingly common in Eastern Europe and the developing world (Deanfield 2001). Approximately one in five deaths is currently related to cardiac disease in Europe and the US. Nearly 500,000 deaths caused by CAD are reported every year in the US, over 600,000 in Europe, 170,000 of these in Germany alone. Over 12 million US citizens have a history of CAD, while every year 1. 1 million US and 300,000 German citizens suffer a coronary attack and more than 40% will die as a result of these attacks. Every second patient dies without prior symptoms and, in most cases, myocardial infarction occurs without warning. Once a blockage of the coronary arteries has occurred, death may ensue within a few minutes, even before hospitalization is possible. These alarming statistics highlight an acute need for tools to diagnose cardiac and coronary artery disease. Presently, the gold-standard mod- ity for diagnosis of CAD is invasive selective coronary angiography. More than 2.