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Major Study of Perfusion Imaging Launched

February 10, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Cardiac Imaging
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Researchers at Johns Hopkins, along with cardiologists and heart imaging specialists in eight countries, have launched a year-long study to determine the best way of tracking the earliest signs of clogged coronary arteries.

The international study will involve some 400 men and women who’ve had symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or fatigue. All qualifiy for cardiac catheterization, an invasive procedure in which a thin plastic tube is directly inserted into the heart’s blood vessels to detect blockages and help widen each artery as needed.

“Our study goal is to figure out how well various imaging tests measure the degree of blockage or narrowing in any particular artery and therefore which is more useful in predicting patients who need catheterization or angioplasty, or bypass surgery,” said cardiologist and senior study investigator João Lima, MD, in a press release. “Some patients would do just as well or better with drug therapy to maintain a healthy blood flow to the heart, but we need to better sort out who they are with more accuracy.”

In addition to having a standard SPECT imaging test, all study participants will have, before catheterization, another test to map out the blood vessels and any potential blockages, a CT angiogram, plus a CT perfusion imaging test to gauge any changes in the volume of blood flow. The CT perfusion test takes 20 minutes or less to set up and perform, in contrast to heart catheterization, which takes 30 to 45 minutes to perform plus several hours of recovery.

“If we can more easily examine patients, then we can reduce the amount of time needed in hospital, and, we hope, reduce the number of invasive procedures, which are mroe inconvenient and open to greater risk to patients from complications,” Lima said.

Related seminar: CT Angiography and 3D Imaging: Current State-of-the-Art

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