(single photon emission
computed tomography) imaging study, in which special cameras rotate around the
body recording the emssions of a radioactive tracer. Computers then convert
these slices into cross-sectional images. If the SPECT test showed no damaged
heart muscle, patients then received a standard exercise stress test. If this
exercise stress test also proved negative, the patient was discharged.
"These tests can give physicians who are uncertain of which course to
take the confidence to discharge those patients who don't need hospitalization,"
Eisenstein said. "It also finds those patients who really should receive further
For those patients in the study who received conventional care, the
total average hospital costs were $9,054; for those who underwent the perfusion
imaging guided care, the cost was $4,620. In terms of total length of stay in
the hospital, conventionally treated patients spent 3.8 days in the hospital;
perfusion imaging guided patients spent 1.4 days in hospital.
Eisenstein pointed out that this strategy is not appropriate for all
hospitals. In order for it to be cost-effective, hospitals not only need to see
a high volume of heart patients, but they must have the nuclear imaging
facilities available 24 hours a day.
Also involved in the study were, from Duke, Dr. Galen Wagner and Lai
Lam; Dr. Franz Wackers and Donna Natale from Yale University; and Dr. Stephen
Stowers, St. Luke's Hospital, Jacksonville, Fla.
Page: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University Medical Center
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