CHICAGO Computed tomography (CT) scanning of the coronary arteries for calcium is widely used as a noninvasive method for assessing early heart disease. However, because imaging equipment settings and individual physician interpretation can affect a patient's diagnosis, an international consortium of scientists, physicians and CT manufacturers has developed a new standard for measuring the amount of calcium found in a person's coronary arteries. The recommendations were presented today at the 89th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
"The original way of scoring calcium was good, but it had weaknesses," said Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D., lead author of the research. "We've addressed many of those weaknesses, added an important calibration step so the reported values can be compared from one test to another, even on different brands of equipment, and adjusted the radiation dose according to a patient's size."
Most radiologists and cardiologists agree that the presence of coronary artery calcium (CAC) is a statistically valid predictor independent of traditional risk factors of increased risk for future coronary events, according to Dr. McCollough, associate professor of radiologic physics at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn.
"The problem has been in the variability of the scoring in CAC screening," Dr. McCollough said. "Every day, there are a variety of CT scanners using different scoring systems producing CAC screening results. In order for these numbers to be meaningful and comparable, we need to be measuring and scoring in the same way."
Using specially developed testing software and simulated human chests and hearts with fixed amounts of calcium, the researchers were able to generate a more accurate, calibrated result, independent of the scanner being used or the patient's size. The new standards also include recommendations that allow for reduced radiPage: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Maureen Morley
Radiological Society of North America
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