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Fusing imaging technologies creates 'synergy,' helps diagnose heart disease accurately

WASHINGTON, D.C.To fight heart disease, you have to get to the "heart of the problem" by diagnosing it more accurately. Researchers did just that, releasing their findings at SNM's 54th Annual Meeting June 26 in Washington, D.C. SNM is the world's largest society for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine professionals.

"By combining the physiological (or functional) images of the blood flow to the heart muscle at stress and at rest with the high-resolution anatomical depiction of coronary arteries and their blockages, we can determine the diagnosis of coronary artery disease more accurately," explained Piotr Slomka, a research scientist with the Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Program at the departments of Medicine and Imaging at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif.

"The idea is to combine two different images of the heart obtained by two different techniques: single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and cardiac computed tomography (CT) angiography," said Slomka, who is also an associate professor with the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles. A cardiac CT angiography is a tomographic X-ray procedure that produces detailed images of coronary vessels of the heart. SPECT is a noninvasive imaging technique that uses short-lived radioactive substances to produce three-dimensional images of the blood flow to the heart muscle.

"These scans are obtained at different timesand even at different locationsbut our computer software puts the information together in 3-D," he explained. "This synergistic integration allows simultaneous analysis of the heart muscle blood flow with a highly accurate image of coronary arteries and their blockages," he noted. "It eliminates the limitations of imaging with either SPECT or CT alone," detailed Slomka.

"This combination could be accomplished also by specialized hybrid scanners; however, our software approach is more flexible sinc
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Contact: Maryann Verrillo
mverrillo@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
3-Jun-2007


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