Researchers Study World’s Best Heart Imaging System
Medical College of Wisconsin physicians are using the most powerful medical CT scanner in the world to research noninvasive approaches to diagnosing and treating heart disease. Early results of the study are already changing the practice of cardiac medicine.
The research team at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin is using the world’s first GE LightSpeed volume computed tomography (VCT) scanner for the study. The VCT scans the heart in less than 10 seconds. Previous generations of CT scanners showed 16 or 32 pictures or “slices” per scan; the VCT produces 64 slices obtained in synchrony with the patient’s heart beat in just milliseconds. The result is a tremendously sharp three-dimensional image.
“This unprecedented speed allows us to capture an outstanding picture of a patient’s beating heart without the patient undergoing an angiogram. It has the potential to transform the way doctors diagnose and treat heart disease,” says Dennis Foley, MD, a Medical College of Wisconsin radiologist, who is leading the research team along with David Marks, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin cardiologist and director of the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.
Angiograms take about 45 minutes and require sedation. With the new technology, in just a few minutes with no sedation, a patient has a single scan a doctor can use to assess three major cardiac dangers: clogged arteries, a torn aorta or pulmonary embolism.
In the study, clinicians will compare the results from patients who have had an angiogram and a Lightspeed VCT scan. Information on a patient’s heart will first be gathered using the VCT and compared to information received from cardiac catheterization.
“We have a new technology that’s exciting,” says Dr. Marks, “but we want to be sure it’s used the right way. We’ll review the VCT’s accuracy, along with long-term healthcare and economic implications.”
Results of the study will also guide clinicians in use of the VCT as a stand-alone diagnostic tool. In addition, it may help in diagnostic evaluation of emergency patients.
Source: Froedtert Today
Date: September 2005