CCTA concerns go mainstream

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Chris P. Kaiser, Editor

There is an ongoing debate about the merits of coronary CT angiography (CCTA): whether it delivers better outcomes than current imaging techniques; whether its adoption has outpaced clinical evidence for its efficacy; and of course, there is the concern regarding radiation dose. Despite the questions, the number of cardiologists buying CT scanners continues to increase.

A recent market research report found that the number of 64-slice CT scanners owned or leased by cardiology practices has more than doubled over the last two years.

On the heels of this knowledge comes a recommendation from an AHA advisory panel cautioning against the indiscriminate use of cardiac CT, particularly for asymptomatic patients. The recommendations, published Feb. 2 in Circulation, is intended, in part, to help educate cardiologists so they may better inform their patients about radiation risk from medical imaging.

Of note in this report, as in others, is that cardiologists should be aware that patients receive many imaging tests that deliver ionizing radiation. Therefore, the danger of radiation exposure is not just from one CCTA exam, but from the cumulative effect of exams—CT, SPECT or PET—that any given patient might have in their lifetime.

While cardiac MRI has been overshadowed somewhat by cardiac CT, there are particular niches where MRI outperforms all other imaging tests. Two featured articles explore several dimensions of cardiac MR.

In addition, our Cardiac Imaging Portal includes the latest industry news regarding new products, hospital installations and more.

I’d like to point you to a new White Paper, located in our HealthCare TechGuide, about high information rate volumetric ultrasound imaging. The latest offering from Siemens Healthcare in the 3D echo arena boasts a faster acquisition rate than other systems, allowing real-time 3D imaging in a heartbeat—without the need for a breath hold.

On these or any topics, please drop me a line.

Chris P. Kaiser, Editor
ckaiser@cardiovascularbusiness.com