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Halving the radiation dose in cardiac perfusion imaging is now 'feasible'
Date:5/17/2011

17 May 2011 -- A reduction by half in the radiation dose to which cardiac patients are exposed during diagnostic perfusion imaging is now "feasible", according to an Israeli study.

Results from the study will be presented as a late-breaking trial at the International Conference of Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Imaging (ICNC) in Amsterdam (15-18 May). ICNC is now one of the world's major scientific events in nuclear cardiology and cardiac CT imaging.

The various modalities of modern perfusion imaging - such as single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) - allow the non-invasive assessment of myocardial blood flow and thus the detection of coronary artery disease. The cardiac imaging test is usually performed twice to provide a comparison between at rest and at exercise ("rest-stress", and vice-vera). Blood flow can be scanned and visualised because of an injection of radioisotope tracer (technetium sestamibi) which enters through the coronary blood vessels and is distributed into the myocardium ("perfusion"); the images are based on gamma rays given off by the tracer substance. Healthy functional myocardial tissue will absorb the radioactive material. However, in cases of reduced blood flow (because of coronary artery narrowing) perfusion defects will be seen. This denotes "myocardial ischaemia", which occurs following exercise. When there is damaged tissue (infarct), fixed defects will also be seen at rest imaging.

According to Professor Nili Zafrir, Director of Nuclear Cardiology at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Israel, and first author of this late-breaking study, the current application of standard myocardial perfusion diagnosis is "limited" because of "high radiation dose" in the tracer substance with which each patient is injected. She agrees that the radiation dose is within acceptable limits, but insists that the level of radiation exposure (and its consequent cancer risk) is still a matter of great debate. The
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Contact: Jacqueline Partarrieu
press@escardio.org
33-492-947-756
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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