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Medical University of South Carolina First To Test New Heart Imaging Method To Detect Coronary Artery Disease
Date:2/10/2010

llow doctors to image both, the heart vessels and the heart blood supply with a non-invasive CT scan as the only test. The test is based on the "shuttle" mode of the second generation dual-source CT scanner, which means that the scanner performs several quick sweeps over a patient's heart during the infusion of an iodine-based contrast medium ("dye").

"With this technique we can observe and measure the passage of the dye through the heart muscle and detect areas that do not receive enough blood. The beauty of this approach is that the same machine can be used to non-invasively look at the heart blood vessels for narrowing or blockages," Schoepf said.

"This would allow detecting or excluding narrowing or blockages of the heart blood vessels without the need for an invasive catheter, while at the same time determining the blood supply of the heart muscle without the need for radioactive dye. In addition the viability of damaged heart muscle tissue can be assessed, and the success of bypass surgery predicted, all with non-invasive CT as a single test," he continued.

Schoepf did point out that the study has limitations. The researchers' first publication is based on only three patients who were investigated using this method and compared to traditional tests, such as nuclear medicine studies and magnetic resonance imaging, although the research study is ongoing and significantly more patients have been recruited in the meantime. Like most techniques that are used for imaging the heart, the second generation dual source CT scans also expose patients to radiation, although new protection techniques on the new scanner substantially reduce radiation compared to older CT systems.

There are approximately 100 scanners around the world capable of performing this test, Schoepf said.  "Further research needs to be conducted on larger numbers of patients to further validate and better establish this concept but our initial
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SOURCE Medical University of South Carolina
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