Early myocardial enhancement defects (dark spots) on multidetector CT are valuable predictors of myocardial viability in patients who have suffered a heart attack, reported doctors from the departments of cardiology and radiology at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel.
Gated CT coronary angiography was performed on 34 consecutive patients that were admitted with a diagnosis of a heart attack. Each patient also underwent an initial and follow-up echocardiography examination. "We wanted to be able to see the heart muscle at the time of the heart attack and then compare that to the muscle's functional recovery on the follow-up echocardiography examination two to four months later," said Eduard Ghersin, MD, leading radiology researcher of the study.
The multidetector CT data was assessed for the presence, position and size of early myocardial enhancement defects (dark spots) by a radiologist blinded to the clinical diagnosis and to the results of echocardiography. The dark spots indicate regions of the heart muscle that had reduced blood flow because of the heart attack.
"Our main conclusion is that in heart attack patients, early myocardial enhancement defects on cardiac multidetector CT, are valuable predictors of future myocardial viability," said Dr. Ghersin. "In essence, what we found is that dark spots on the early CT predicted those patients who would have reduced myocardial viability on follow-up echocardiography," said Dr. Ghersin. "Consequently, imaging physicians and clinicians should be aware of the potential advantages of systematic assessment of myocardial enhancement on routine CT coronary angiography studies in the clinical context of heart attack patients."
"As many other radiologists, we also primarily focused on imaging of the coronary arterial tree using recent advances in multidetector CT technology," stated Dr. Ghersin. "The fact that the same technology can supply valuable additional information at no or slightly increased additional cost in terms of radiation exposure to patients, significantly amplifies the future use of cardiac multidector CT."
The full results of this study will be presented on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC.