This year’s European Congress of Radiology in Vienna is shaping up to be one of the most exciting yet. Important data about GE Healthcare’s Revolution CT* scanner will be presented as part of a study conducted at the Centre Cardiologique du Nord, Saint Denis hospital, France. The study showed that using Revolution CT made doctor’s jobs easier when diagnosing heart conditions, and it may open the door to wider potential applications for this non-invasive imaging technique in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.
This is good news, as CAD is one of the biggest killers in the world. In 2010, the disease killed 7 million worldwide1. Every year, it kills over 600,000 in the US alone2. It is caused by hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. There are many contributing factors to the disease, mostly to do with unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise. Some studies even say that half of men and a third of women over 40 in the US will be diagnosed with CAD in the future3.
CAD is most commonly diagnosed using coronary angiography: an invasive, delicate procedure that involves threading a catheter through the heart’s blood vessels. Though effective, the technique is complex and requires surgical expertise. A less invasive way to diagnose CAD is to use coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA), or in other words a CT scan of the heart.
CT scanning involves passing a series of X-rays through the body at different angles to form a complete image of the inside. However, the technique isn’t without pitfalls, especially when dealing with such a complex organ as the heart. First of all, CT scanning involves X-rays which irradiate the body and can be harmful if exposed to for too long. Second, the heart is constantly in motion, so scans of patients with high heart rates are likely to show motion artifacts, or the X-ray equivalent of blurring. These factors combined mean that radiologists may have to do several ‘takes’, which is limited by the levels of radiation a patient can be exposed to.
The Revolution CT scanner goes a long way towards reducing these pitfalls, enhancing image quality and using a lower dose of X-rays when imaging a patient. It can image the heart in one beat, in superb quality. To use a camera analogy, think of Revolution CT as having far higher shutter speed than previous iterations.
Dr Sablayrolles, head of CT Cardiac Imaging Radiology at Centre Cardiologique de Nord (CCN) in Saint-Denis, France was the first user of Revolution CT in Europe. He commented, “These data results are in line with our positive experiences using Revolution CT. It’s able to deliver excellent visualisation of the coronary arteries, which is important for increasing the success rate of cardiac CT exams in our hospital. The remarkable improvement in image quality gives us much greater confidence when diagnosing even clinically-challenging patients and the lower dose per cardiac exam is a huge advantage.”
He continued, “Many patients with suspected coronary artery disease undergo invasive imaging examinations. However, non-invasive imaging offers greater comfort to patients. Performed on an outpatient basis, it also shortens hospital stays. Revolution CT offers so many advantages and possibilities that high performance CT could help develop of new patient pathway and be used as a first-line examination in the evaluation of coronary artery diseaseFollow The Pulse to keep up to date with all the latest developments from Vienna.”
*Trademark of General Electric Company.