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EBCT scans trump angiography at detecting killer heart defect

ts in defining complex vascular anatomy," Memisoglu says.

In contrast, EBCT, which uses a specialized stationary X-ray tube and a high-resolution detector system, enables doctors to capture "practically blur-free" cross-sectional images of the beating heart, says Memisoglu. Because of its speed in capturing images the study is completed in fewer than 30 seconds patients don't need medication to slow their heart rate.

EBCT, along with multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) which features a moving X-ray tube but is comparable to EBCT in diagnosis produces stunning three-dimensional images of the heart that help radiologists detect congenital defects that otherwise might not have been picked up. EBCT and MSCT can also rule out the presence of significant coronary artery blockages with a high degree of accuracy. "Up to 40 percent of all patients in the U.S. who go through invasive catheter angiography do not end up needing revascularization treatment, such as stenting or bypass surgery. That means a major role for MSCT and EBCT would be gatekeeping telling us which patients would benefit most from an invasive procedure," Memisoglu says.

Memisoglu also sees an economic advantage to using EBCT or MSCT scans in place of catheter angiography.

"Liberal use of coronary catheterizations are costing taxpayers millions of dollars, driving the cost of medical insurance and creating a burden on the economy," he says.

He predicts non-invasive scans such as EBCT, MSCT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will one day replace catheter angiography entirely to detect heart vessel blockages and congenital abnormalities; conventional catheter angiography will then be used for treatment only, he suspects.

"We don't want to block access to catheter angiography for patients who really need it," Memisoglu says. "But EBCT and MSCT can help avert the unnecessary physical and psychological consequences of an invasive procedure."


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Contact: Rachel Otto
ottorl@slu.edu
314-977-8018
Saint Louis University
10-Oct-2005


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