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Study Finds MRI Beats SPECT For Heart Tests

December 23, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Cardiac Imaging
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MRI beats SPECT for testing those suspected of suffering from coronary heart disease (CHD), according to a major United Kingdom study of heart-disease patients.

Among the possible CHD tests, SPECT is popular in part because it’s noninvasive. A five-year study by researchers at the University of Leeds in England, involving 752 patients, found that equally noninvasive MRI was better at both diagnosing CHD and ruling it out in patients who did not have the disease.

John Greenwood, PhD, of the University of Leeds, who led the study, said:

We have shown convincingly that of the options available to doctors in diagnosing coronary heart disease, MRI is better than the more commonly used SPECT imaging test. As well as being more accurate, it has the advantage of not using any ionizing radiation.

Dr. Greenwood was quoted in a university news release. The study was published online today in The Lancet.

The study used a coronary magnetic resonance protocol that consisted of rest and adenosine stress perfusion, cine imaging, late gladolinium enhancement, and MR coronary angiography.

“The scans were all carried out on a standard 1.5 tesla scanner—exactly the type of MRI scanner that you would find in most hospitals today,” Dr. Greenwood said.

Peter Weissberg, MD, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, did note, “At present, not all hospitals have the expertise to undertake such scans, but these findings provide clear evidence that MRI should be more widely used in the future.”

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Speaking of cardiac matters, please accept our heartfelt wishes for a wonderful holiday season. We very much appreciate your reading us each day, or however often your schedule allows. We’ll continue trying to bring you the most interesting and useful information we can find via this blog, our Facebook page, and our Twitter feed. The best of the season to you and your loved ones.

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