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For Chest Pain in the ER, CT Angiography May Be Best

Procedure cuts diagnosis time and costs, study finds

THURSDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to standard emergency room triage, CT angiography is quicker, more accurate and much less expensive for screening patients with chest pain who have low to moderate enzyme and EKG scores, according to a new study.

The study included 749 acute chest pain patients at 16 emergency rooms who were randomly assigned to receive either coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) or standard screening with myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI).

Both methods were found to be safe, and similar numbers of patients underwent invasive angiography during the first visit. However, diagnosis time for patients who underwent CCTA was 54 percent shorter (3 hours vs. 6.3 hours) and the cost of care for patients in the CCTA group was 38.2 percent lower -- a median of $2,137 compared to $3,458 for standard screening with myocardial perfusion imaging.

The findings from the study -- called the Coronary Computed Tomography for Systematic Triage of Acute Chest Pain Patients to Treatment Trial -- were to be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

More information

The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia has more about chest pain.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 18, 2009

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