Navigation Links
CT Scans Can Spot Heart Trouble Fast

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Most people who go to the emergency room with chest pain aren't having a heart attack, but it can take hours or days to make a definitive diagnosis.

However, a new study finds that a special kind of CT scan given in the emergency room seems to identify a heart attack faster than traditional methods, so patients can be sent home safely sooner.

"You can go to an emergency department with chest pain, be concerned it might be a heart attack -- get a CT scan, like we do for everything else in the emergency department -- and we can say it's not your heart and you can go home, within a couple of hours," said researcher Dr. Judd Hollander, clinical research director of the department of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.

"We can now answer the questions faster, and let people go home sooner," he said.

Using the CT scan is faster, Hollander said, noting it can take 25 hours to get the results of blood tests that indicate whether a patient has had a heart attack.

"And an EKG only shows if you are having the big one," Hollander added. "So, if it's negative it doesn't tell you if you are having a smaller heart attack, and two-thirds of heart attacks will have an EKG that's not diagnostic."

For every 100 patients who go to an ER with chest pain, only 10 or 15 have cardiac disease, Hollander said. "The other 90 percent end up with nothing serious," he added.

In addition, ERs are busy and crowded, and this is a way to move patients out faster and increase the ability to see more patients sooner, he said.

The findings were to be presented Monday at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting in Chicago. They will also be published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine.

For the study, Hollander's team randomly assigned more than 1,300 patients with chest pain, but no previous history of heart disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes, to CT scans or regular care.

The scans generate three-dimensional images of the heart and the blood vessels surrounding it, the researchers noted.

Among those with a normal scan, none died or had a heart attack within a month after being seen in the ER. In addition, more of these patients were sent home than those who received usual care -- about 50 percent versus 23 percent, the researchers found.

Those who received scans spent less time in the hospital and had heart problems diagnosed faster.

Scans are also cost-effective, Hollander said. The tests, which are like a standard CT scan, cost about $1,500. Patients who have a normal scan can be sent home within a few hours. A patient who is admitted to the hospital can run up bills of more than $4,000 for stress tests and monitoring alone, the researchers noted.

Chest pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the emergency room in the United States, accounting for as many as 8 million visits each year, at a cost of several billion dollars, they noted.

Many patients with chest pain are suffering from anxiety, pneumonia or indigestion that can cause the same symptoms as a heart attack, the researchers explained. Yet, more than half of patients with chest pain are admitted to the hospital for observation or testing such as cardiac catheterization or a stress test.

Commenting on the study, Dr. Gregg Fonarow, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center and co-director of the UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program, said that "there are 8 million men and women that present to emergency medical centers with chest pain each year."

There has been great interest in developing strategies to more efficiently evaluate these patients and identify which ones can be safely discharged, he said.

The trial demonstrated that these scans may be useful to screen low- to moderate-risk patients, Fonarow said.

"However, further studies are needed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of this strategy and how it compares to protocols using high-sensitivity troponin tests," he added.

A troponin test measures the levels of one of two proteins, troponin T or troponin I, in blood, Fonarow explained. These proteins are released when the heart has been damaged, such as during a heart attack. However, this test is usually repeated over 12 to 16 hours, so the results do not come back as quickly as a CT scan.

More information

For more on heart attacks, visit the American Heart Association.

SOURCES: Judd Hollander, M.D., professor and clinical research director, department of emergency medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, and co-director, UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program; March 26, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine, online; March 26, 2012, presentation, American College of Cardiology annual meeting, Chicago

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. FDA Seeks Reduction in Radiation From Medical Scans
2. New Heart CT Scans Deliver Far Less Radiation: Study
3. Scans Might Monitor Success of Alzheimers Drugs
4. Brain scans could be marketing tool of the future
5. Scans May Be Misleading for Hockey Players
6. Scans of brain networks may help predict injurys effects
7. CT and MRI scans associated with shorter hospital stays and decreased costs
8. Fear of getting fat seen in healthy womens brain scans
9. Researchers successfully lower radiation dose associated with pediatric chest CT scans
10. Summit aims to develop guidelines for safe and effective CT scans
11. Simple reduction technique decreases radiation dose associated with CT scans of the head
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
CT Scans Can Spot Heart Trouble Fast
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... It takes only three to five seconds to make ... the first impression be positive and reflects business values. If a client starts with ... want to return. They will also share their thoughts about a business with others, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... Brillouin Energy Corp. Congress and Government ... of renewable energy technologies capable of producing commercially useful amounts of thermal energy ... WET™ and HHT™ Boiler System reactor core modules were presented to Congress on ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... IN (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... benefits advisory organization, is pleased to welcome Winter-Dent & Company as its newest ... from day one to become a client's most trusted advisor regardless of whether ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ALEXANDRIA, VA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... encourages people across the United States to support their local poison centers through ... been designated as #GivingTuesday: calls it “a day that inspires people to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Serenity Point Rehabilitation, a holistic treatment center for ... with some of the staff members at their recovery center. The videos highlight some ... as some of the things that make their recovery program so unique. , “Making ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... leader in non-invasive genetic testing and the ... that it will present at the 27 ... York on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET.  Matthew Rabinowitz, ... Company,s financial results, business activities and financial ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  In the pharmaceutical industry, companies want ... to quickly uncover new insights, tactics and strategies that ... --> However, organizations often find it ... and ensure that all rules and regulations are met ... major barrier to efficiently launching market research projects is ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nueva York , 24 ... Devices (ABD), fabricante del Avery Breathing Pacemaker System, ... Jonzon , MD; Ph.D. como consultor clínico. ...   --> Foto - ... El doctor Jonzon es un fisiólogo y ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: