Cardiac CT is Certifiable for Cardiologists & Radiologists
Chris Kaiser, Editor
The American College of Radiology (ACR) has jumped into the cardiac CT certification business with its own exam: Cardiac CT Certificate of Advanced Proficiency (CCT CoAP). The first test will take place this September.

Some third-party payors and hospitals already require cardiac CT imagers to demonstrate proficiency in the modality. The CCT CoAP will allow radiologists to provide that documented proficiency. "It also demonstrates to their patients that these physicians are expert practitioners of this rapidly evolving imaging technology," says Geoffrey D. Rubin, MD, chair of the CCT CoAP committee.

In September 2008, the Certification Board of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (CBCCT) offered its first exam. The organization later reported that the exam netted an 80 percent pass rate. The exam again will take place this September.

Most of the participants were cardiologists, followed by radiologists. Members of the board of directors for the CBCCT come mostly from cardiology organizations, including American College of Cardiology, American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT).

"We were encouraged to see radiologists take the exam," said Allen J. Taylor MD, a CBCCT board member. "Quality in imaging is not a specialty-specific domain. The point of the certification board is to identify cardiovascular imagers who pursue quality, be they cardiologists, radiologists or nuclear medicine physicians."

Two recent SCCT documents also brought cardiologists and radiologists together. In March, the SCCT issued guidelines for interpreting and reporting coronary CT angiography (CCTA). The extremely comprehensive and detailed report is the first step in an ongoing effort to standardize CCTA protocols, says Gilbert Raff, MD, of the SCCT writing group, which comprised cardiologists and radiologists.

In May, the SCCT issued guidelines to address standards for CCTA acquisition and techniques to reduce radiation exposure. The writing group, comprised of seven cardiologists and radiologists, noted that various approaches exist and the one to choose depends on the individual patient.

Of course, there is more to cardiovascular imaging than cardiac CT, and you'll find articles in this portal about echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and vendor transactions.

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Chris Kaiser, Editor