Scan effective at finding clogged arteries - study
An imaging device that scans slices of the body diagnosed clogged arteries about as well as the traditional method where dye is injected through a catheter threaded into the body, researchers said on Tuesday.
The scanning method, called multislice computed tomography, was performed on 103 patients suspected of having coronary artery disease and the accuracy of diagnoses were only percentage points lower than traditional invasive coronary angiography.
“With rapidly improving technology, (this type of scan) may well evolve from a useful complement to invasive angiography to a clinically viable alternative,” lead author Martin Hoffmann of University Hospital, Ulm, Germany, wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Angiography can be an uncomfortable procedure requiring follow-up treatment. In it a thin tube is threaded through a blood vessel in the groin or arm toward the heart, a dye is injected, and an X-ray taken. The resulting angiogram helps gauge the need for an angioplasty or surgery.
Angiography produces complications in nearly two out of 100 cases, and one patient in a thousand dies.
But the sophisticated scan is unproven as a stand-alone diagnostic tool, Mario Garcia of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation said in an accompanying editorial.
There is risk of bombarding patients with two to three times the ionizing radiation of an angiogram, and the cost-effectiveness of the scan has yet to be established, he wrote.
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