Scanning for Heart Disease

Combination imaging offers good evaluation of coronary damage

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MONDAY, June 23, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A combination of imaging provides the most complete noninvasive diagnosis of coronary artery disease, says a study presented Monday at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's annual meeting in New Orleans.

The study of 51 patients by researchers at the Medical Imaging Center of Southern California found functional information about tissue blood flow is provided by SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), but it doesn't offer full anatomical detail.

On the other hand, CT scans can locate coronary calcium deposits and intracoronary lesions (CCTA), but don't provide as much functional information as the MPI.

In this study, all the patients had SPECT MPI and CT coronary calcium scanning, and 39 of the 51 also had CCTA scans. The researchers compared myocardial perfusion defects identified by MPI with the locations of calcium deposits and plaque identified by CCTA.

"Examining the scans together provided valuable information. For instance, we observed a strong link between severe myocardial perfusion defects and both heavy (calcium) deposits and intracoronary lesions found by CCTA," researcher Edwin C. Glass says in a news release.

"However, in more than half the cases, additional information was gleaned from the ensemble of tests that could not be discerned from any single test alone," he says.

He and his colleagues concluded that combining the results of both the functional MPI and anatomic CT scans benefits patients by offering a more comprehensive assessment of coronary artery disease and better treatment and diagnosis.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about coronary disease.

SOURCE: Society for Nuclear Medicine, news release, June 23, 2003

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