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ESC supports 'appropriate' use of nuclear imaging technology
Date:3/23/2010

Cardiac nuclear imaging and computed tomography angiography (CCTA) still have an important role to play in cardiac disease diagnosis, say experts from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Following the recent publications (1,2,3) highlighting potential dangers of ionising radiation resulting from imaging testing, the ESC experts feel that it is important to voice support of the technology. "We want to reassure the public that for individual patients the benefits of receiving an accurate diagnosis are likely to far outweigh the small potential risks involved in having a scan," said Professor Juhani Knuuti, of the ESC Working Group on Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT, from Turku University Hospital (Turku, Finland). "The most fundamental question that clinicians need to ask themselves is whether a test is appropriate for the individual patient, and whether that patient will derive benefit from it."

It needs to be remembered, he added, that tests like CCTA are used to select patients for invasive procedures that themselves carry risks. "Any procedure is a balance of risks and benefits. What has been overlooked in recent publications is the risk of cardiovascular disease going untreated, which can even result in immediate sudden death. The potential risks of imaging tests are small relative to the diagnostic information obtained," said Knuuti.

"We have real concerns that following the publicity around the papers, the public may avoid these tests out of fear and that authorities might create unjustified recommendations for imaging use. They need to appreciate that radiation is a single aspect of the risks involved, and that these are really useful tests for cardiologists. Everything needs to be considered in the wider context," said Knuuti.

Papers highlighting the risks

Last year the problems of radiation exposure in patients undergoing medical imaging procedures were raised in three papers in major journa
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Contact: ESC Press Office
press@escardio.org
33-049-294-8627
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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