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Comprehensive cardiac CT scan may give clearer picture of significant heart disease
Date:9/15/2009

A team of researchers led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) radiologists has developed a computed-tomography-based protocol that identifies both narrowing of coronary arteries and areas of myocardial ischemia restricted blood flow to heart muscle tissue giving a better indication of clinically significant coronary artery disease. Their report appears in the September 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"This is among the first demonstrations of the use of cardiac CT [computed tomography] to detect both coronary artery stenosis and resulting myocardial ischemia simultaneously in a single examination," says Ricardo C. Cury, MD, a cardiac imaging specialist at the MGH Heart Center and the study's principal investigator.

CT scanning uses conventional X-rays to produce cross-sectional images of anatomic structures and can detect plaques in coronary arteries. But the appearance of plaques on CT images may not indicate whether or not they actually compromise the heart muscle's blood supply. More detailed angiographic images obtained via invasive cardiac catheterization give a better picture of how obstructive a plaque may be, and perfusion studies utilizing technologies such as MRI scans or the nuclear medicine technologies SPECT and PET reveal areas where limited blood flow has damaged the heart muscle, information that can determine whether a patient can be treated with drugs or requires surgical intervention.

Earlier studies showed that CT can identify areas of restricted coronary blood supply in resting individuals. The MGH-led study was designed to see whether a comprehensive cardiac CT examination could incorporate myocardial perfusion studies in both resting and stress situations along with the anatomic data provided by CT angiography. The study enrolled 34 cardiac patients who recently had SPECT stress tests and were likely to also require angiography via cardiac catheterization. <
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Contact: Jennifer Gundersen
jgundersen1@partners.org
617-724-6433
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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