October 15, 2007 - Low-dose coronary CT angiogram (CCTA) could be better for testing asymptomatic patients for heart attack risk, according to researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA.
The low-dose CTA technique tests for both fatty deposits and calcium deposits in the coronary arteries, which can lead to heart attack and death. Other tests, like the Coronary Calcium Scan, can only test for deposits that result from calcium buildup and cannot detect non-calcified blockage.
There is significant danger in not testing for non-calcified blockages, according to Daniel S. Berman, M.D., chief of Cardiac Imaging and Nuclear Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai, as these plaques are more prone to rupture than calcified plaques. “The new procedure, which does test for these, provides better risk assessment," said Dr. Berman.
The test is available for both asymptomatic patients and patients with visible symptoms. For asymptomatic patients, the “Mini-dose” CCTA is used, and boasts a 90 percent reduction in amount of radiation used. For symptomatic patients, the “low-dose” CCTA reduces radiation by 75 percent.
Researchers at Cedar-Sinai stated, “Non-invasive CTA is a useful way of screening for arterial disease because it is safer and much less time-consuming than catheter angiography.”
For more information: www.csmc.edu