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EBCT scans trump angiography at detecting killer heart defect

ST. LOUIS Electron-beam computed tomography (EBCT) is more accurate than conventional catheter angiography for detecting a dangerous congenital heart abnormality that could cause sudden death, according to research by a Saint Louis University radiologist published last month in Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions: Journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions. Esat Memisoglu (AY-sot May-me-show-loo), M.D., assistant professor of radiology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and his team which included another radiologist and several cardiologists studied 28 adults at a heart hospital and imaging center in Istanbul, Turkey, who had undergone conventional X-ray angiography for chest pain or shortness of breath and then later underwent an EBCT.

In half of the patients, angiography showed a congenital abnormality for example, a left coronary artery originating from the right side of the aorta, or vice versa. EBCT also detected the abnormalities, but in more than a third of the cases, it was able to provide information the angiography could not. Specifically, it could confidently determine whether the artery traveled perilously between the aorta and pulmonary artery, putting that patient at risk for a heart attack or sudden death, Memisoglu says.

"The most crucial clinical question is whether the artery is coursing between the aorta and pulmonary artery. Angiography did not always give us the correct answer, but it was very easy to tell using EBCT," Memisoglu says.

Traditional catheter angiography, an invasive two-dimensional projectional X-ray technique that involves passing a catheter through a patient's groin artery to the heart vessels, is commonly used when physical examinations and other non-invasive tests are found to be negative in younger patients who experience chest pain or fainting during strenuous physical activity.

However, catheter angiography "can lead to ambiguities because of i
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Contact: Rachel Otto
ottorl@slu.edu
314-977-8018
Saint Louis University
10-Oct-2005


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