Cutting-edge procedures cut costs, time associated with cardiac episodes

ATLANTA, GA (March 14, 2006) -- Scientists presented a novel diagnostic tool aimed at cutting the time and costs needed to evaluate acute chest pain, as well as updated pre-hospital protocol to quickly diagnose and treat heart attacks today at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session. ACC.06 is the premier cardiovascular medical meeting, bringing together over 30,000 cardiologists to further breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine. Immediate Coronary Artery Computed Tomographic Angiography Rapidly and Definitively Excludes Coronary Artery Disease in Low-Risk Acute Chest Pain (Abstract 807-8)

When patients complain of acute chest pain, physicians often implement time-consuming and expensive procedures to rule out the possibility of a heart attack or other serious coronary complication. Researchers from the William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan evaluated the use of Computed Tomographic Angiography (CTA), a quick examination that uses x-rays to track blood flow in the veins and arteries and provide a 3-D image of the heart, to exclude coronary artery disease (CAD) as the cause of acute chest pain. The team found that CTA alone quickly and accurately ruled out significant CAD in 67 percent of cases, and CAD was correctly assessed in 100 percent of the CTA patients.

Study authors randomized 200 patients with low-risk acute chest pain to either an immediate 64-slice CTA or a standard of care evaluation, which includes an electrocardiogram (EKG), serial cardiac enzymes and rest-stress nuclear scanning. CTA quickly ruled out CAD in most cases, with reducing the total time patients spent in the emergency room by 45 percent. In addition to saving time, CTA was approximately $300 less expensive per patient than standard of care procedures. In the study, both the CTA group and the standard of care group had similar demographics, risk factors and Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction risk scores, a test used to determine a

Contact: Victoria Kirker
American College of Cardiology

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