CT scans could be just as effective as MRIs when evaluating certain cardiomyopathy conditions

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New data published in the journal Radiology suggests that dual-energy cardiac CT scans could be just as good at determining extracellular volume fraction in nonischemic cardiomyopathy (CMP) as MRI scans.

The study compared the CT and MRI scans from 23 patients with CMP and seven healthy patients between December 2012 and March 2014. Researchers wanted to know if CT scans were just as useful as MRIs in detecting a certain symptom of the disease—the authors noted that patients appeared to prefer CT scans. And the study authors pointed out that dual-energy cardiac CTs might be less susceptible to misregistration.

In analyzing the results of both types of scans, the study authors found that several variable appeared to be measured equally well through a CT scan and an MRI scan:

“For MR imaging, the hematocrit level was 43.44% 6 1.80 for healthy subjects and 41.23% 6 5.61 for patients (P = .16); for CT, the hematocrit level was 43.50% 6 1.92 for healthy subjects and 41.35% 6 5.92 for patients (P = .15),” the authors wrote.

And: “There were no significant differences in mean values of ECV between MR imaging and CT for healthy subjects and patients with [hypertrophic cardiomyopathy], [dilated cardiomyopathy], amyloidosis, and sarcoidosis (P = .97, .67, .98, .95, and .83, respectively).”

 They also found that the two different people who were reading each of the scans agreed with each other on the way to interpret the results of the MRIs and the CTs.

The researchers’ ultimate conclusion was that for cardiomyopathy patients who have MRI contraindications, their physicians can use this information to feel more comfortable evaluating them with a dual-energy cardiac CT scan for diffuse myocardial fibrosis. They did, however, recommend more research before making wide-spread clinical recommendations.