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Canadian researchers call for more angiograms

More tests need to be prescribed to save and prolong the lives of Canadians living with coronary artery disease, says a study released today from the University of Alberta.

The research shows that the more Alberta physicians prescribe cardiac catheterizations--also know as angiograms--to detect people with coronary artery disease, the more people they are finding who have high-risk blockages and who would benefit from therapeutic treatment, such as bypass surgery and angioplasty. "We're not doing enough to test people in Alberta, and, as Alberta is among the leading provinces in Canada in performing angiograms per capita, we can safely say that we need to be doing a lot more of these procedures across the country," said Dr. Michelle Graham, a cardiologist at the U of A and lead author of the study, which appears today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

According to Statistics Canada, cardiovascular diseases cause more deaths in Canada than any other disease, and 54 per cent of all cardiovascular deaths are due to coronary artery disease. In 2002 (the latest year for which Statistics Canada has data), cardiovascular diseases caused 74,626 Canadian deaths.

According to Graham's study, an average of 525 men and 240 women per 100,000 in Alberta received angiograms each year between 1995 and 2002.

"We would like to see much higher rates of testing in both men and women," said Graham. "We haven't yet reached the optimal rate, but we will know when we do because the rate of testing and the rate of high-risk disease detections will level off--we haven't seen that yet."

Graham's research also showed that of the people who received angiograms and fell into the "high-risk" category, about 75 per cent were eligible to receive potentially life-saving bypass surgery or angioplasty.

However, Graham noted, it is important to ensure that every patient who receives an angiogram truly needs one. The procedure, which inv
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Contact: Ryan Smith
ryan.smith@ualberta.ca
780-492-0436
University of Alberta
5-Jul-2005


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