WASHINGTON, D.C.The use of combined imaging technologies may hold the key to stoppingand even preventingheart attacks, according to research reported at the 54th Annual Meeting of SNM, the world's largest society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals.
"For the first time, we have shown that we can detect dangerous, high-risk plaque that causes heart attacks and strokes through the use of multidetector computed tomography (CT) imaging and a novel contrast agent," said James H. Rudd, a cardiologist and scientist with the Imaging Sciences Laboratory at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Additionally, researchers combined CT imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, "providing a new way to determine the amount of inflammation within atherosclerotic plaque and the chances of plaque causing a future heart attack or stroke," he noted.
The slow, progressive buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substancescalled plaqueon the inner lining of arteries causes atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease. Plaques can narrow the heart's arteries, allowing less blood to flow to the heart muscle (causing angina), and plaques that rupture may cause sudden heart attack, stroke or death. Nearly 80 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.
"Using both imaging techniques togetheran excellent example of multimodality molecular imaginggave more information than using them separately," explained Rudd. "Each technique tells us something different about atherosclerosis," he said. With CT imaging and N1177 (a nanoparticulate contrast agent used to improve the effectiveness of CT and provided by NanoScan Imaging LLC), researchers "were able to determine the size of plaque, whether it was causing narrowing of the arteries and whether any inflammatory cells were involved," said Rudd. "From the PET scan, we got extra information about whether the plaques were dangerous and whether they
Contact: Maryann Verrillo
Society of Nuclear Medicine