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Advanced CT imaging proves as accurate as invasive tests to assess heart blockages, study shows
Date:11/19/2013

y, an invasive test to look for blockages in the coronary arteries using dye and special X-rays. About 30 percent of people who have such catheterization are found to have minimal disease or no blockage requiring an intervention to open the vessel with a stent or bypass the vessel through surgery, says Lima.

The 381 patients who completed the study had traditional single-photon emission computed tomorgraphy (SPECT) tests and invasive angiography. Lima says SPECT, a stress test with imaging, shows reduced blood flow to the heart without indicating the number or specific location of blockages.

Study participants also had two types of tests with a noninvasive 320-detector CT scanner. In the first CT test, the scanner was used to see the anatomy of vessels to assess whether and where there were blockages. That test is known as CTA, in which the "A" stands for angiography. Then, in a second CT test with the same machine, patients were given a medication that dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow to the heart in ways similar to what happens during a stress test. The second test is called CTP, with the "P" standing for perfusion.

"We found that the 320-detector CT scanner allowed us to see the anatomy of the blockages and determine whether the blockages were causing a lack of perfusion to the heart," sayslead author Carlos E. Rochitte, M.D., a cardiologist at the Heart Institute (InCor), University of So Paulo Medical School, in Brazil, "We were therefore able to correctly identify the patients who needed revascularization within 30 days of their evaluation."

"Many patients are sent for an angioplasty when they may not need it. Our ultimate goal is to have more certainty about which patients having chest pain without evidence of a heart attack need an invasive procedure to open an arterial blockage," says cardiologist Richard George, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicin
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Contact: Ellen Beth Levitt
eblevitt@jhmi.edu
410-955-5307
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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