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CT Scans Might Be Better at Spotting Heart Risks in Patients with Chest Pain

Contributed by on March 16, 2015 at 4:27 pm

CT machineCT scans may be better than standard tests at spotting heart risks in patients with chest pain, according to new research. A Scottish research team’s findings show that CT scans are able to spot more heart problems, which allowed doctors to react quickly and reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Dr. David Newby, chief investigator, stated that a CT scan can confirm the diagnosis, facilitate changes to a patient’s treatment and ultimately, help reduce the risk of a heart attack. The patients who were studied were experiencing chest pains and suspected of having heart disease.

Standard tests for heart disease often include a stress test and an electrocardiogram. While these tests can be helpful, they sometimes miss the presence of coronary artery disease. When this occurs, doctors often make an incorrect diagnosis. Studies have shown that one-third of heart attack victims had unrecognized disease when sent for standard testing.

A CT scan is a kind of X-ray that can take a 3D image of the heart, and it may just help doctors better detect heart disease in patients. Of the roughly 4,100 patients who were examined in the study, 25% of initial diagnoses were changed after receiving a CT scan. Standard tests resulted in just a one percent change.