"This new generation of technology puts CT scanning among the first diagnostic tests performed, whereas it has been mostly performed until now only when necessary and if circumstances permitted," says cardiologist Eduardo Marbn, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chief of cardiology at Hopkins. Marbn is also director of the Hopkins Institute of Molecular Cardiobiology and the Michel Mirowski Professor in Cardiology. Indeed, Hopkins will be leading a multicenter clinical trial to compare the clinical effectiveness of cardiac catheterization to 64-slice CT imaging as the new standard for diagnosing cardiovascular disorders.
To produce a CT image, computer-driven machinery passes X-rays through the body, producing digitized signals that are detected and reconstructed. Each X-ray measurement lasts just a fraction of a second and represents a "slice" of an organ or tissue. The greater the number of detectors the new device has a total of 64 the better the resolution of the picture. A computer then uses these slices to reconstruct highly detailed, 3-D images of the heart and surrounding arteries. In some cases, a patient is injected with a contrast solution to increase the visual detail.
Each machine costs between $1.5 million and $2 million. A single test costs approximately $700.
Fellow cardiologist and Hopkins chief of medicine Myron L. Weisfeldt, M.D., a professor and past president of the American Heart Association, notes that the time between new generations of imaging technology has shrunk dramatically. "Within just the last few years, CT scanning technology has made incredible strides
Contact: David March
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions