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Computed Tomography Shows Advantage in Heart Disease

Computed tomography may be better test than MRI for detection of coronary artery disease

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Computed tomography (CT) appears to hold an advantage over magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for ruling out coronary artery disease, according to research published in the Feb. 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Georg M. Schuetz, of the Freie Universität Berlin, and colleagues analyzed data from a meta-analysis featuring 89 studies on CT and 20 on MRI that compared these approaches with conventional coronary angiography in adults with suspected or known coronary artery disease.

The researchers found that the mean sensitivity and specificity for CT were 97.2 and 87.4 percent, and for MRI were 87.1 and 70.3 percent, respectively. CT scanners with more than 16 rows showed significantly higher sensitivity than older-generation scanners with a maximum of 16 rows (98.1 versus 95.6 percent). During CT scans, heart rates of less than 60 beats per minute were associated with higher sensitivity.

"Because ongoing technical developments may gradually make CT and MRI more potent alternatives to conventional coronary angiography and increase the options for clinical decision making, regular updates on their performance are vital," the authors write. "In summary, our analysis indicates that CT should be considered the foremost noninvasive alternative to conventional coronary angiography for detecting and ruling out coronary artery stenoses in selected patient populations. Randomized studies are clearly needed to address the potential of coronary CT angiography for use in triage as a means of positively altering management and outcomes in patients with suspected coronary artery disease."

One author reported various financial relationships with pharmaceutical and medical companies.

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