November 13, 2007 – A medical study led earlier this year by Matthew Budoff, M.D., associate professor of Medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, concludes that Electron Beam Tomography (EBT) heart scan technology is an independent predictor of all-cause mortality after controlling for age, gender, ethnicity and cardiac risk factors.
According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology study, entitled “Long-Term Prognosis Associated with Coronary Calcification,” Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) scanning using an EBT scanner “provides independent and incremental prognostic information in addition to traditional risk factors in the prediction of all-cause mortality.”
According to Dr. Budoff, “This study validates my long-held belief that only EBT scanning can fully detect and predict heart disease among at-risk patients.” Dr. Budoff noted that compared to 64 Slice CT, EBT exposes patients to significantly less radiation.
In California, EBT is covered by Medicare in California, and EBT last year was recommended by the American Heart Association for patients at intermediate risk of heart attack.
An EBT scan reportedly provides an accurate picture of how much plaque you have accumulated, and according to numerous published peer-reviewed studies over the past 20 plus years, EBT has a 98 percent accuracy rate for detecting heart disease before the onset of symptoms.
EBT scans are said to be faster than conventional CT systems, as EBT system produce X-rays by focusing an electron beam onto tungsten target rings positioned beneath the patient. Unlike mechanical scanners, there are no moving parts in the EBT imaging chain. This results in EBT scan times as fast as 50 milliseconds (1/20th of a second), far faster than the speed attainable with the most rapid mechanical scanner.
There is no need to administer any drugs to patients prior to an EBT scan. Alternatively, when a patient undergoes a 64-slice heart scan, a beta blocker must be administered in almost all cases to lower the heart rates to below 60 beats per minute to accommodate the technology’s slower imaging capabilities. Unfortunately for anxious patients, these drugs often don’t lower the heart rate enough, resulting in blurred images that force the patient to either wait and try again or come back another day (both of which result in additional, unnecessary radiation).
“It's very important to find out who's walking around with plaque in their arteries and is at high risk for a heart attack,” added Dr. Budoff. “Once cardiologists are completely familiar with EBT scanners, they invariably realize this technology provides nothing less than a mammogram of the heart and doesn't miss a thing.”
For more information: http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/abstract/49/18/1860