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New MRI Technique Identifies Blocked Coronary Arteries

Non-invasive procedure may be alternative to traditional coronary angiography

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- A new non-invasive cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique -- which combines stress first-pass perfusion MRI with delayed contrast enhancement -- is highly accurate in showing blockage of the coronary arteries, according to a study in the July issue of Radiology.

Ricardo C. Cury, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues compared the accuracy of traditional coronary angiography against that of the new technique in a study of 47 patients, 33 of whom were suspected of having coronary artery disease (CAD) and 14 of whom had a prior history of heart attack and suspected new arterial lesions.

The researchers found that angiography showed significant CAD in 30 of 46 patients (65 percent). Of these 30 patients, they found that the new technique demonstrated CAD with an accuracy of 88 percent. They also found that the accuracy of the new technique increased to 96 percent in patients with only one diseased vessel and that its accuracy was 90 percent in patients who had previously undergone bypass graft surgery.

"Comparison of first-pass perfusion MR imaging with delayed-enhancement MR imaging seems to be important for characterizing perfusion deficits if they occur in viable or infarcted myocardium," the authors conclude. "Further multicenter studies are necessary to establish the diagnostic accuracy of this method in larger patient groups."

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