News | May 05, 2010

256-Slice CTA Alone Used to Triage Patients

May 5, 2010 - Emergency department use of 256-slice computed tomography angiography (CTA) can help physicians triage patients with indeterminate chest pain without the need for additional diagnostic testing which can be costly and time consuming, according to a study to be presented at the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif.

Chest pain is among one of the most common symptoms of patients presenting to the emergency department. In the United States, more than 5 million patients a year come to the emergency room with a chief complaint of chest pain. "Traditional evaluation of chest pain in the emergency department is frequently inconclusive and often requires the admission of patients for further diagnostic testing which is costly," said Minh Lu, M.D., lead author of the study.

The study, performed at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, Md., included 11 patients who underwent 256-slice CTA for the evaluation of their indeterminate chest pain. Seven patients were found to have a negative CTA and a final clinical diagnosis of insignificant chest pain; two patients had insignificant coronary plaque; and two had moderate coronary disease but were given presumptive final diagnoses of non-cardiac chest pain. Two pulmonary findings and one breast mass were found incidentally. "Overall, the diagnostic concordance of 256-slice CTA was 100 percent," said Lu.

"Traditional management of chest pain may require observation prior to a radionuclide stress study or stress echocardiogram before discharge, increasing the length of hospital stay and cost. In contrast, 256-slice cardiac CTA can be performed safely and early in the observation period with rapid and accurate results," he said.

"The 256-slice cardiac CTA shows substantial promise in expediting and improving emergency department triaging of patients presenting with chest pain," said Lu.

For more information: www.arrs.org

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