7 Healthcast: Heart blockages
A quick pass through this new coronary CT scanner lets doctors gather all sorts of information about the heart- Information that usually is only available through a surgical procedure.
"We were able to do it with a little IV in the arm and get the same data and tell the patient they have normal coronary arteries without the puncture of the groin, without the compression and without all the complications that can happen with catheterization," Radiologist Dr. Frank Rybicki of Brigham & Women's Hospital said.
Unlike other scanners this new technology captures all the information doctors need in a single breath.
"In one heart beat you see all the coronary artery tree. You see all the heart muscle, the myocardium and you also see all the lungs around that area and everything out from the skin," Dr. Rybicki said.
Rybicki says the 3D images can be examined at different angles and show fine detail.
"The thickness of the slices is less than a half a millimeter which is even smaller than the end of a toothpick," Dr. Rybicki said.
All of this information, in a non-invasive manner, is faster and has less radiation to the patient than other scans.
It's important to note that this is not a screening test. This is for people who need their coronary arteries evaluated, but are at low or intermediate risk of having any type of problem and doctors expect them to be normal. So instead of having a surgical procedure to find this out they can have a quick scan.(Copyright 2008 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)