New use of 64-slice CT scan to be studied at HUP to help diagnose coronary artery disease in the ED

(Philadelphia, PA) The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) is now utilizing a new high-tech tool to quickly and efficiently screen for coronary disease when patients complaining of chest pain come into the emergency room. It's a move that could save lots of time and money, reducing unnecessary testing and hospital stays.

The 64-slice CT scanner at HUP is now being used by the emergency department (ED) and could prove to be an effective tool in giving quick results to physicians so they can identify the 15% of patients whose chest pain is being caused by heart disease (and, conversely, weed out the other 85% of presenting patients who visit hospital emergency rooms each year complaining of chest pains. Patients who are eventually found not to have heart and coronary diseases.) An estimated 3,000 patients a year come into the HUP ER with chest pains. Nationwide, that number is about 5 million.

The new multi-slice CT scan which supplies experts with an exquisitely detailed 3-D image of the heart by utilizing unparalleled resolution and speed was recently featured in a front-page article in Time Magazine (Sept. 5th issue). Multi-slice CT is a new application of computed tomography technology, which can look at the coronary arteries as well as actual heart function, helping doctors to identify problems without invasive diagnostic procedures. The 64-slice CT scanner at HUP is the fastest available in the world at this point.

HUP is gearing-up for a clinical study to see just how useful this technology in the ED would be making HUP one of only a very few emergency departments in the entire country utilizing multi-slice CT in this manner. Only certain patients may benefit from or qualify for use of the multi-slice CT scan in the ED namely, those determined to have a low risk of heart disease. Physicians caution further investigation of this application will be needed before it can be more widely applied.

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Contact: Susanne Hartman
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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